Reflection on the Lectionary

Sunday 12th February (Ordinary 6)

Psalm 119 : 1 – 8; Deuteronomy 30 : 15 – 20; 1 Corinthians 3 : 1 – 9; Matthew 5 : 21 – 37

The reflection for this week is by Local Preacher, Christine Jones.

Today’s Gospel reading encourages us to think about Jesus’ attitude to some of the Ten Commandments. Was he picking ones he liked best? Or ones he felt were especially for him? Or were they ones he knew were the hardest to live?

v 21 – You have heard that it was said to those of old times ‘You shall not murder.’

Jesus changes it from something that is hard – don’t kill – to something even harder; don’t be angry with people, don’t insult people, don’t call someone a fool. I have to admit that’s one I break almost every day – usually it’s the other motorist. No, Jesus is saying I’m to be reconciled with them. I may still think they are wrong or mistaken, but they’re not fools.

Jesus is pointing out the Best Way to live with those we disagree with.

v 27 – You have heard that it was said ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ Jesus isn’t just saying ‘don’t break your marriage’; he’s going wider and deeper than that. He’s looking at the whole area of relationships. Marriage is only just a part of that. He’s also focusing on thoughts and feelings as much as on deeds. I can feel quite smug that I’ve never committed adultery, never even wanted to. But how good are my relationships with people? Maybe not very. Jesus is pointing out the Best Way to relate to people, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

v 33 – Again you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times ‘You shall not swear falsely.’

Jesus isn’t just saying ‘don’t lie,’ ‘don’t bear false witness’; he’s going further and deeper than that. ‘Let your Yes be Yes and let your No be No’. It’s hard, but it is the Best Way. God didn’t give us 10 easy things to do; he gave us 10 Best Ways to live.

Nobody seems to have asked Jesus if there was any commandment we could leave out and still have all we needed; but somebody did ask him which was the most important. I’m sure you remember what he said and which was the one he said was second. Again his definition of neighbour was much broader than his audience. He gave another Best Way. It wasn’t like the 11th Commandment – don’t get found out. It was again far reaching. ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ Love God, Love people, God loves us.

A prayer from the Methodist Prayer Handbook [page 3] by Amelia, age 9, Elston All Saints Anglican Methodist Primary School, Newark.

Father God, I promise to love my friends, my family and the Lord Jesus. I will love them with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind. I will keep all the ten commandments and I will worship you. Amen.