Called to a Higher Standard

Have you ever thought: “You know, I’m not a bad person. I haven’t robbed a bank or murdered anyone!” I know I have. And for the most part, it’s true: we’re people of good will who want to do the right thing. Chances are we haven’t seriously been tempted to robbery or murder.

But that’s not surprising. Good people usually aren’t tempted to do really bad things. What they are tempted to do are things that are less good, such as settling for a “good enough” morality that’s satisfied with not being a bank robber or an ax murderer. For Christians, however, that’s not enough. Our “righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees.” We’re called to a higher standard.

Jesus explained what this involves in today’s gospel. He confirmed that we aren’t to kill anyone! But we also aren’t to burn bridges, hurl insults, or feed resentments. Instead, we are to be fence menders- people who reconcile, forgive, and apologize. Has anyone hurt us? We’re to forgive them. Have we hurt anyone? Then we need to say we’re sorry. Even if they hurt us back; even if they hurt us first.

We might protest and say: “That’s not fair!” And we’d be right. But Jesus doesn’t call us to be fair; he doesn’t call us to be “good enough.” Jesus calls us to be holy; Jesus calls us to love.

Readings for today’s Mass:

Photo Credit: pasukaru76 via Creative Commons