From My Point of Pew: 02.16.14

Readings for Febru191132443_b635a3955f_oary 16, 2014, the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Vanessa’s Note: Today, we’re featuring a guest Point of Pew by my husband, Brandon.

Last night, we attended the Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral since today we ran a half-marathon during our normal Mass time. Deacon Ron Walker gave the homily, which I heard most of it :-). I took Teresa into the narthex at the beginning of the homily, mainly as a preventive measure since, if I was celebrating or preaching at a Mass, I’d probably be more thrown off by a kid erupting during the homily than during any other point during the service.

Deacon Ron’s point that stuck with me is one that I hadn’t heard described quite this way before.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus first expands the law. Previously, while adultery was outlawed before, Jesus tells that even just looking at someone lustfully is already adultery in our heart. He tells us that while killing was outlawed by the old law, the act of being angry with our brother makes us liable to judgement.

With that as a preface, Jesus tells us that if our eye causes us to sin, we should pluck it out. If our right hand causes us to sin, we should cut it off.

Deacon Ron pointed out that generally, that order from Jesus is read figuratively, but perhaps it could be read more literally.

Taking both of these aspects from the Gospel today, if we look at them together, Jesus is commanding us to not only see the end result as what we should avoid (adultery or killing another, in this case), but what is leading us toward those actions. Adultery beings with lust. Murder begins with anger. If we remove lust and anger from our lives, we fulfill the law above and beyond simply following it.

Should we cut off our arms and pluck out our eyes? No, because our eyes and arms don’t cause us to sin—we control our bodies and we cause ourselves to sin—but we should cast off what provides the temptation or near occasions of sin.

For me, this reminded me that when finding areas of my life that I’m falling short—through actual sins or simply failing to do the right thing— that I should not only strive to do that particular thing, but should look at the bigger picture. I should find the logical beginning and change that.

What did you hear today? Join in the conversation and leave your point of pew in the comment section.

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