Views from the Pews – Sunday, February 12, 2023

Brothers & Sisters:

We are still in St. Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount.  In today’s Gospel Reading, we find our Lord quoting some of the ten commandments, given by God to Moses, and adding to them.  This he does on his own authority: “I say to you,” thus putting himself on a level with God, which, as he was God, he could do.

The scribes and Pharisees were most rigorous in their external observances of the law of Moses, but this observance of the law lacked true sincerity of heart, and    was not done out of charity.  They sought the praise of their fellowmen, and thus vitiated all their good actions (see the parable of the Pharisee and the publican in the temple, Lk 18:10-14). 

Christ tells his disciples and followers that their observance, their religion, must be better than that – they must obey God’s commands out of love and true sincerity, or they will not be worthy of heaven. 

True and loyal service to God therefore begins in the heart,  and has its value from this interior disposition.  Keeping the ten commandments is our way of proving to God that we are grateful, obedient and loyal to him who gave us all we have and who has promised us future gifts infinitely greater still.  And just as our love for God is proved by our true love for neighbour, so the last seven of the commandments impose on us obligations regarding our neighbour.  It is only by fulfilling these seven that we can fulfill the first three which govern our relations with God.

This truth is expressed by our Lord in the words:  If you are offering your gift at the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there…first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.