BY: Fr. Michael Olumba


HOMILY: (Matthew 5:20-22A, 27-28, 33-34A, 37):

In the gospel, this Divine Wisdom personified, speaks to us. He presented himself both as the Lawgiver and the Law himself. When he sat between Moses and Elijah on the Mountain of Transfiguration, he himself took up the role of the Law and the Lawgiver. He took upon himself also the prophetic role and showed himself to be the Word spoken all along by the Prophets. Today, he speaks to us:

20-Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”.

–You were told before that with fifty percent you have passed. Now, I tell you that with 60 percent, you have only weak pass. Your new standard is 99 percent. You must go beyond Moses and the Decalogue. 10 over 10 is no longer enough.

21-“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.

22a-But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment”.

–Now, I tell you; To be angry with your brother is enough to be seen as a crime, liable to judgment just as actual murder. None should talk of actual murder. Murder should not be spoken of among you as a possible reality.

27-“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.

28-But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.

–Now, I tell you that just nourishing the thought of adultery and deeply desiring it just in your heart is as real before me as actual adultery. Remember that almost all evil starts in the heart with thoughts, cherished, nourished and nurtured into maturity. Nip these in the bud and from the roots if you wish to be free from them.

33-“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
34a-But I say to you, do not swear at all”.

37-Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

The idea that you should back up your promises and words with oaths means that doubts could be placed on your words. That doubts could be placed on your words is already a failure for the Christians community. Your words ought to be above doubts as not to be in need of confirming them with oaths. Yet, you swear oaths. Sometimes we even use the Bible to swear. When the bible really spoke of oath taking, the idea was that after oath taking, no one should again be in doubt of the truth sought. If one swears on the Bible that this or that belongs to him, no one should again doubt his words. Oath should be the end of the dispute. People have the tendency to starts swearing at the slightest chance. At the demand for simple explanations, people wish to replace the simple explanations with oath swearing while the explanation is yet to be given. And in fact, it may not be given.

Jesus speaks of perfect Christians to perfect Christians.

-Do not look for where perfect Christians are. You ought to be one of them.

-Thus, do not compare yourself with anyone else, or look around to see whether your neighbour is listening to what is being said.

-This is meant for you.
-Do not tell us how Christians have failed to live out this gospel passage and how people of other religions are better than us in morals. That is rubbish. Do not think foolishly like that.

-Rather, simply compare or measure yourself with this gospel passage. Be the perfect Christian that Christ is speaking to and speaking of.

-We are seeking perfection, yet without forgetting that we live in an imperfect world, made worse by our own individual and communal imperfections.

-In all this, the Lord calls us to a higher level of perfection; a level that would be fully achieved at the realization of the kingdom.

-May the wisdom from above help us live out the ideas of this kingdom to come even in our imperfections here below-Amen!
-Fr. Michael Olumba

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