Living What Jesus Teaches

Our first reading from Sirach speaks of the choice we have. It is our choice whether to follow God’s commandments or not. God gives us free will to make our choice. However, we must realize our choices have consequences.

If we choose to keep the commandments, “if you trust in God, you too shall live.” What does trusting God have to do with keeping the commandments? It means we trust God gives us commandments that are good for us. We might like to choose something else but we trust that God is guiding us to the better choice through the commandments.

If we choose not to follow the commandments, then we face the consequences. Sin comes with its own punishment in this world. For example, the sin of adultery can result in a broken marriage. Sin also brings punishment for eternity. If we sin and do not repent, we will spend eternity in Hell, forever separated from God.

We face choices throughout our lives. “Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.” We do well to trust in God’s commandments and to ask him that He guide us through the Holy Spirit and our guardian angel to “observe his decrees.

We pray, “Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statute, that I may exactly observe them. Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.” Jesus offers us instruction in his Sermon on the Mount to help us observe the commandments. He breaks open the commandments, teaching us what it means to keep the commandments not just externally but in our hearts.

God’s wisdom can be mysterious and seem hidden but He offers it to those who ask for it. It is a sign of maturity to ask the Lord for his Truth. God’s Truth does not change. Here Jesus says, “I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill.

It may be hard to keep the commandments but it is worth it. It leads us to eternal life in Heaven.

Jesus takes the 5th Commandment, “You shall not kill“, and teaches what the real problem is in our hearts, anger. If we desire to kill, are we angry with the person we wish to kill? Do we want to get rid of them so we can live our life that way we want? Do we allow ourselves to become slaves to our desire. We must let go of the anger. “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there call that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother.” Let go of the anger.

Jesus then takes the 6th Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” and tells that to even look at another person with lust is adultery. This might seem impossible. Who doesn’t see another person and be attracted to them? Attraction is one thing. Lust is another. I see nothing wrong in looking at another person and seeing beauty if it respects them as a person, as a child of God. It is quite another thing to look at them as object for our physical pleasure. The difference is lust. One should also ask how quickly we let go of the thought. Do you let go of the thought right away when you see the other person or do you allow yourself to dwell on it, enjoying the pleasure the thought gives you? Let go of the thought. Let go of the lust.

Jesus then speaks of what causes us to sin. We must let go of the cause. But what causes our sin? Does our eye cause us to sin? No, the eye does not cause us to sin. In the sin of lust, we may use our eyes as we look at the other person but the eye does not cause the sin. It is the lust and desire for physical pleasure that causes to sin.

What about our hand? Does our hand ever cause to sin? If we steal, we probably use our hands in the act of stealing but our hand does not cause us to steal. If we cheat in a card game, we may use our hands to stack the deck but our hands do not cause the sin. The sin is caused by our desire to win (pride) and/or our desire to win (steal – dishonestly winning the pot).

Jesus also tells us that the man who divorces his wife, “causes her to commit adultery.” How does divorce cause the woman to sin? Remember in Jesus’ days on earth, woman had little status. The woman have been forced to remarry to have a man to take of her. However, unless the marriage was unlawful, remarrying is a sin. Are there ways that your own sin causes others to sin? It can affect how you spend eternity.

Jesus speaks of keeping oaths. If you “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No,'” then people will know they can count on your word without the need for an oath.

Remember, “if you trust in God, you tool shall live,” live forever in Heaven.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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