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. Jul 2021 .
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Doctrines & Morals

We must possess a higher virtue

2 Cor. 3:15-4:1.3-6, Mt. 5:20-26. In today's first reading, Paul refers to Mount Sinai, where Moses stayed with the Lord for forty days and he wrote the words of the covenant on the tablets of stone, as a place where we can also encounter God and be transformed. Amazingly, as Moses came down from Mount Sinai, the skin of his face became so radiant and he had to veil his face (Ex. 34:28-29). Paul sees this as a profound spiritual encounter in which we can partake. Like Moses on the Holy Mountain, we enter into the immediate presence of Jesus. Paul develops this idea of encounter with God as something open to everyone. As we gaze on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, we are being transformed fully into the image of God.

Today’s Gospel presents the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus invites us to grow into a deeper level of virtue, so as to be transformed and be like Him: “Do not grow angry, do not use abusive language, do not offer a gift on the altar without first being reconciled with neighbour.” Jesus calls for a virtue that goes beyond what is called for by the Old Testament, or indeed by our own civil laws. The ideal of virtue He proposes is at the level of attitude and feeling and not simply at the level of action. The "Ten Commandments" relate to actions which are to be done or to be avoided. Jesus quotes one of the Commandments at the beginning: “You shall not kill.” He goes on to prohibit not just the act of killing but attitudes and emotions that can lead people to kill each other. He warns against anger and scorning of others that leads us to call them fools. It also relates to anger and the destructive power therein or the act of judging others in ways that leds us to speak of them disrespectfully. Even though we are not criminal at the level of action, we may fail at that underlying level of anger and resentment that Jesus talks about. If we are to reach this deeper virtue taught by Jesus, we know it can only be with God’s help, with the help of the Holy Spirit, whose power at work within us can begin to shape all we do and how and why we do it.

May the Lord give us His strength in our weakness and direct our thoughts, words and actions, so that we may know and do His will always! Amen!! Good morning and have a pleasant day!!!

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