Pondering for Sunday, February 12, 2023

Eucharistic Readings for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany: Year A

Deuteronomy 30:15-20Psalm 119:1-81 Corinthians 3:1-9;   Matthew 5:21-37;

“Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said” (Matthew 5)

In this section of the Gospel of Matthew our Lord Jesus re-interprets the Hebrew Testament. Specifically, Our Lord Jesus tells them what they have heard and re-orients them in a more godly way. He speaks of hate, of marriage and of the swearing of oaths.

Of hate we are to repent and seek forgiveness. Every Sunday (today) we open our service with the words, “Almighty God to you all hearts are open, all desires known and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit…” You see, it is only through prayer that we can overcome hate, hate of any kind, be it racial, ethnical, national, and today in America, political hatred.

Of marriage we are to honor our spouses. This has to do with the keeping of our word. Its more than just each other, it’s about the whole family. Just as we are told to honor our mother and father, mom and dad must honor each other.

From Douglas Hare writing for Interpretation: A bible Commentary: Matthew, I share the following:

“Interpreters of these verses must be careful not to translate into legal statute what is presented as an evangelic counsel.  That is, it ought not to be treated differently than the other antitheses, some of which has been or can be, converted into law. While it points to God’s ultimate will for men and women, there are numerous instances in which a marriage is no longer real, whether because of infidelity, neglect, abuse, failure to communicate, or simply unresolved tensions regarding reciprocal expectations.   While every effort should be made to redeem fractured marriages, some must be acknowledged as beyond repair. In such cases divorce may be not only the lesser of two evils from the point of view of God’s ultimate will but also a positive step.”  (P. 54)

Of oaths we are to let yes be yes and no be no. This is not “no because,” or yes if.”  This is about seriously pondering a proposition and then stating your yes or no response after thinking about it.

Our baptismal covenant is an oath.  We promise that we will renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God; We promise that we will renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God; We promise to renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God; We promise to turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as our Savior; We promise to put our whole trust in His grace and love; and finally, We promise to follow and obey Him as our Lord.  Do you still promise these things?  Yes or No only please. Theree is no “No because, or yes if.”

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Turkey and Syria.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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