Sixth Sunday Year A. Shorter Gospel – Matt 5:20-22,27-28,33-34,37
If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the Scribes and Pharisees you’ll never enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Let’s hope the Scribes and Pharisees were very corrupt!
Jesus calls us to a higher – perhaps deeper – standard. It’s not just, thou shalt not kill; it’s thou shalt not be angry.
It’s not just, thou shalt not commit adultery; it’s thou shalt not lust.
Neither anger nor lust can be considered harmless; both can lead to serious spiritual bondage, to diminished freedom and to acts that are gravely sinful and sometimes criminal.
Thus Jesus calls us to purify our hearts – to remove all that leads to sinful and sometimes criminal behaviour.
A pure heart is nothing more than a heart – a person – who loves God.
Jesus’ final point about swearing and oaths calls us to the same goodness.
It’s not just, don’t break your oath; it’s be a person of such integrity that your ‘no’ means ‘no’ and your ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and swearing or oath-taking is no longer necessary.
This is a breath-taking window-view opening out to show us the sheer goodness, the purity of heart to which we’re called and on which Catholicism is founded.
Indeed elsewhere in the Gospel Jesus tells us to be “as harmless as doves …”
Engaging with last weeks Gospel:
If last week Jesus called us to witness like “a city built on a hill-top” this week he reminds us that such witness flows from a heart that’s like a store full of goodness (a store full of goodness is how Jesus described a good heart)
If last week Jesus called us to be salt of the earth, this week we get a glimpse of how salt becomes tasteless – when we draw out from our hearts, not goodness but anger, lust, jealousy …