The convenience of making inconvenient -Wednesday, 10th week in ordinary time – Matthew 5:17-19
A new preacher on the block always seems to generate interest, especially if the skill set is right. There are some who dwell with a hope, misguided as it may be, that if the walk looks rights the talk will be right. Yet as we know, walking the talk is not always what we get and those who judge a book by its cover will find page five hard to turn.
For the Jews, Jesus was the ‘new kid on the block.’ They called him Rabbi and some called him the devil himself. They approached him the way they chose to perceive him. Like in our time, there are those who map the path of following the faith according to what they perceive as right; some left, some right, some moderate and some not at all.
Yet, Jesus did not come to divide but to unite us. His prayer in the Gospel of John was, “that they may be one.” Even more, he did not come to show us ways to the father for he is the only way to father. While Christianity has room for expressions of the faith, the core of the faith cannot be expressed any differently than the way it was given to us by God.
Christ is emphatic, “I have not come to abolish the law or the prophets.” Perhaps those who heard him speak with authority assumed that he was here to meet their brand of faith. On the flip side there were those who could not swallow what he said. We know that they called his teachings ‘intolerable’ and perhaps tried to tarnish his name with their own whisper campaign.
When it comes to the core of the faith, Christ does not want us to “imagine,” for the faith is not up for any sort of interpretation except that which the Father has willed it to be. The law of God may seem inconvenient to some, it may be out of step for others, or even more, may appear imposed from above; whatever may be our imagination, Christ is clear, not one dot, not one stroke shall disappear from the law.
Christ clarifies his position for the misguided, “no infringements are permitted! Think about it, if someone “infringed” on your property you would use the might of civil law to push back. We who don’t let an inch of our earthly property to be infringed on have a greater duty to fight back any infringements on the laws set by God, for they protect our heavenly home.
Not only are we to defend the faith vigorously from elements external and internal, we are also called to teach the truth of God in sincerity. In the Sermon in the Mount, Jesus is laying down the demands of discipleship. Discipleship has consequences and Jesus is clear that there will be some disciples who violate the laws of heaven and the teachings on discipleship; they will face the consequence of being “least in the kingdom.” Yet for those who keep them faithfully; every dot, every precept of Christ, will be called ‘great’.
The translation of this word ‘great,’ in Greek, is ‘maga.’ It is as if Jesus says, ‘I will shout out your name, I will proclaim your name to everyone for you have followed the laws of discipleship in the beatitudes and kept the Law of God to its letter.
Perhaps today would be a day to check how many dots and strokes in our lives have moved out of place and even more if we are teaching those around us to break the law of God because it is inconvenient to us.