Monday, December 5, 2016

Reflection: Luke 5:17-26

Monday of the Second Week of Advent - Luke 5:17-26  

Today Jesus tells His disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets.  I have come not to abolish the law and the prophets.  I have come, not to abolish them, but rather to fulfill them.”  He reassures his followers when He says: “I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true.”

Then Jesus continues with these words: “That is why anyone who breaks the least of these commands and invites another person to break these commands will be called ‘least’ in the Kingdom of God.  However, whoever lives and teaches these commands will be great in the Kingdom of God”.  Jesus ends with: “I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God”.  

Today’s Gospel reading may prompt us to ask ourselves: How do I break the commandments?  (I assume we all do this to some extent.  We are not perfect.)  Or do I strive daily to live according to the commandments?  I assume that for many of us that the choices we make likely are a mixture of keeping some commandments and breaking other commandments.   The reality is that some commandments are easier to keep than others.  Take a moment and ask yourself: What are the commandments that I typically keep?  And what are the commandments that are more difficult for me to keep?    

Jesus then speaks about the serious offenses, such as: “Do not murder.”  I suspect that most of us will never murder another person.  However, all of us at times have made comments about a family member, a friend or a stranger that may have been demeaning, critical or degrading of this individual.  Sad to say, many of us humans do this every day!  

Jesus then uses another example: “If you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar.  Then go and be reconciled with your brother or sister.  And then go and offer your gift at the altar.” Jesus instructs us to make peace with any person we are at odds with.  This may sound easy but most often, it is not an easy path to take.  

Jesus is telling us that we need to make things right in our lives.  This is not an easy path to take.  It is not easy to say “I’m sorry.”  Or “I made a mistake.”  It takes humility of ask for pardon and forgiveness.  What makes it more difficult is that most likely in a week’s time, I may have to ask for pardon and forgiveness several times.  However, if we humbly apologize and we are forgiven, we have received a great gift.  And hopefully, we share the gift of forgiveness with the people in our lives.  May it be so!

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