- Created: February 12, 2017
- Written by Pope Francis
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's liturgy presents us with another page of the Sermon on the Mount, which we find in the Gospel of Matthew (cf. 5.17 to 37).
In this passage, Jesus wants to help his listeners reinterpret the Mosaic law.
What was said in the old covenant was true, but it was not everything: Jesus came to fulfill and to enact definitively the law of God, to the last iota (cf. v. 18). He manifests its original purposes and fulfills its authentic aspects, and does all this by his preaching and even more by offering himself on the cross. So Jesus teaches how to fulfill the will of God and speaks of a "higher justice" than that of the scribes and Pharisees (cf. v. 20). A justice animated by love, charity, mercy, and therefore able to realize the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. Formalism: this I can do, that I cannot; up to here I can, up to here, I cannot ... No, more, more.
In particular, today's Gospel examines three aspects, three commandments: murder, adultery and swearing.
With regard to the commandment "Thou shalt not kill," He says that is violated not only by actual murder, but also by those behaviors that offend the dignity of the human person, including insulting words (cf. v. 22). Of course, these insulting words do not have the same gravity and culpability as killing, but they are placed along the same line because they are the beginning and reveal the same malevolence. Jesus invites us not to establish a classification of offenses, but to consider them all harmful, as all having the intention of doing harm to others. And Jesus gives the example. To insult: we are used to insulting, it's like saying "hello." And that's along the line of killing. Those who insult the brother kills his brother in his heart. Please, do not insult! We do not gain anything ...
Another fulfillment is brought to the law of marriage. Adultery was considered a violation of the man's property rights to the woman. Jesus, however, goes to the root of evil. Just as you come to murder through insulting, through giving offense and insults, so adultery comes about through the intention of possessing a woman other than a man's wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and all other sins, are all first conceived in our hearts and, once accomplished as a wrong choice in the heart, are implemented in concrete behavior. And Jesus says: whoever looks at a woman who is not his with a possessive spirit is an adulterer in his heart, he is on the road to adultery. We think too little about this: the bad thoughts that are along this line.
Jesus then tells his disciples not to swear, because taking an oath is a sign of insecurity and of the workings of duplicity in human relations. It exploits the authority of God to give a guarantee to our human affairs. Rather we are called to build among us, in our families and in our communities, a climate of transparency and mutual trust, so that we can be considered to be honest without resorting to interventions from on high to be believed. Mistrust and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity!
The Virgin Mary, docile and joyfully obedient woman of listening, help us to more and more draw close to the Gospel, to be Christians not of "window dressing," but of substance! And this is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to do everything with love, and so to fully accomplish the will of God.