16 June, 2017. Friday, Week 10
1st Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15
We have the treasure of grace, in the clay jars of our humanity
My brothers and sisters, we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture – “I believed, and so I spoke” – we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Gospel: Matthew 5:27-32
Perfect fidelity includes right mental attitudes and motives
Jesus said to his disciples,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Reflection from Association of catholic priests
Taken seriously, but not literally
The language Jesus uses in today’s Gospel sounds strange to our ears, “If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away;” He speaks in an exaggerated way to get our attention; he clearly does not intend to be taken literally. This image of tearing out our right eye links back to his view of adultery not just as a physical act but as an intention or a desire, “whoever looks at a woman lustfully.” Jesus goes behind the actions that the Ten Commandments prohibit to the roots of those actions in the human heart. This is the deeper virtue that he referred to a few verses earlier. Jesus calls for not just a change of behaviour but a change of heart, a purifying of desire and intention. This interior transformation is understood elsewhere in the Scriptures to be the work of the Spirit. It is the Spirit of God who renews the human heart. It is above all in prayer that we open ourselves to the Spirit of God. As Elijah in the first reading sought out the mountain of God, we need to seek out the mountain of prayer. On the mountain, Elijah experienced the presence of the Lord in “the sound of a gentle breeze,” as another translation expresses it “in the sound of sheer silence.” It is above all in silence that we seek the Lord’s face, in the words of today’s responsorial psalm, and open ourselves to the coming of the Lord’s Spirit, who works within us to create in us a heart that reflects the heart of Jesus.