October 14, 2018
Word of God cuts more finely than a double-edged sword. It is interesting to hear that word of God is compared to a double-edged sword that is treacherous and most dangerous. It would cut from any side and needed special training to handle and only few had access to it. Maybe in today’s terms St. Paul would say it is more treacherous than an atom bomb or biological weapon that wipes out everything.
We were on a retreat and the passage for our daily mass was about Mary and Martha serving. The priest who was supposed to preach said, “Oh, it is just a softball for me to preach.” It was indeed softball for him to preach and say what a nice thing to contemplate, meditate, and listen to Jesus and be at His feet all the time. I am sure we all do that and feel consoled by the Lord being in the church and having some quiet moments and listening to Him. However, it was not a soft ball for Martha to listen to the Lord, “It is Mary who has chosen the better part: it is not to be taken from her”. Luke 10:42. Having worked so hard to feed Jesus and busy serving Him and get, a bouncer with a hardball surely is a tough one. His word is indeed a hardball and it hurts or pricks our conscience like a double-edged sword. Wherever that word lands it transforms us and challenges us to live a new life. I am so scared to read the Bible it challenges me, exposes me of my wretchedness, and forces me to lead a better life. Every time I read it, I am not the same. It makes me a new creation.
In today’s Gospel too, we find the rich man confronted to lead a better life, it was really a hardball for the rich man, and he was unable to digest it. He must have thought, “Jesus would appreciate me and congratulate me for leading such a great life.” Jesus tells him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me”. This looks like a bombshell! Not only was the rich man feeling it so hard, so also the disciples felt that it was tough teaching. Following Christ is not easy. It is not enough and we are all called to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect. To those whom more is given, more will be expected.
It was not easy to follow Jesus when he tells us that it is not enough to forgive seven times, while the society demanded it was enough to forgive three times. He wants us to forgive unconditionally, without any measure and without any calculations. The only condition attached is to go and sin no more. Are we able to forgive one another with that spirit of Christ?
Matthew 5:20 and verses that follow, Jesus tells us how to live those commandments, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” In addition, he goes on speaking about lust, divorce, and even loving the enemies. We are expected to be one-step ahead of the rest and better than others in every aspect to be his true disciple.
He continues to speak to us in Matthew 5, “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him or her two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:40-42 We can speak of the whole Bible and it speak to us like a sincere friend. If there is a true friend, he or she will speak to us of our limitations and weakness because our friend wants us to be good. However, those who do not challenge us and want to speak only good things are not our true friends. Let us be like Jesus true friends to each other.