Lessons from Jesus

25 Jun

Sermon on the MountToday’s Gospel gives us three challenging lessons from Jesus taken from His famous “Sermon on the Mount”:

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Mt. 7:6).

Living in a largely de-Christianized society that sorely needs a “new evangelization,” we might tend to brush aside this verse. After all, we must be about bringing the Gospel to the unchurched, who might be considered the “dogs” or “swine” in this analogy. This verse points to the ever-present need to balance what we call in Church-speak “inculturation,” or making the mysteries of the faith accessible to a given culture, and the “reverence” that is always due to God and holy things. If we’re too serious or other-worldly we will not be able to inculturate the Gospel, and if we’re too hip we can easily water down or trivialize the “pearls” of our faith.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 7:12).

This is the most straightforward of the three lessons . . . and probably the most difficult. The people of Jesus’ time, thanks to the Law and Prophets, already knew this lesson, yet they needed Jesus to remind them. And today, surely we have heard the “Golden Rule” many times and have tried to drill it into our quarreling children. Yet we still don’t treat others as we would like to be treated, because we haven’t fully tapped into the love of God that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 5:5). Let’s hear these words anew and make practical resolutions to do good to others today.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few” (Mt. 7:13-14).

We don’t know the relative population of heaven and hell, and we do trust in the super-abundant mercy of God. Yet, this startling message reminds us that we are responsible for how we respond to God’s mercy, and how we live our lives. We might ask ourselves whether we’re heading through the narrow gate. If not, there’s still time to change course and choose the path that leads to abundant life (cf. Jn. 10:10).

One Response to “Lessons from Jesus”

  1. samzabotney June 26, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    This post is spot on – as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It runs the danger of letting us off the hook way too easy. Far too many of us can read these words and somewhat smugly say “Well, I certainly am not on that broad path to destruction, not like THOSE people who are the SINNERS. All the drunkards and adulterers and sexual perverts out there!

    I would challenge all of us to think a llittle deeper about that broad road. Yes, there are certainly those whose sinful lifestyles put them in the fast lane, but what about those of us who have chosen the even broader road of being coach-potato Christians who’ll get around to God when we find the time and energy? Do we do a lot of “religious” things that make us feel pretty “holy” but leave it at that?

    The gospels tell us that building the kingdom of God is Jesus’ priority. It must be ours. Each one of us is here to make a difference. In us Christ lives in the world. Following him is not just something that we fit into our schedule. It must BE our schedule. Loving him is not an aspect of our busy life. It must BE our life. While that doesn’t mean living in a cave and praying all day. It does mean that every day, we give our work, our leisure, our pain, our joy to Jesus.

    So my challenge is, are we on the road leading through the narrow gate, or are we unwittingly ambling down the broad highway? Are we walking with Jesus’ in bringing forth the kingdom, or are we just killing time and taking up space?

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