Mt 5:17-19 Everyone But Not Everything
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill…Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Why did the Lord say these things to his disciples? Were they beginning to have strange thoughts? Were they beginning to be tolerant of everything? Were they beginning to equate love for everyone with love for everything? Have we forgotten that Christ, while sweeping in his accepting, was thorough in his condemning?
The Lord walked a fine line while in his world. He knew it well because he walked it and towed it himself. He knew it well because He drew it himself, nice and thin, so that it could “pass through the eye of a needle.”
Although the Lord was in the world, he was not of the world. Even though He lived with sinners, He did not chose to sin. Although He spoke in Hebrew or Aramaic, He did not speak like everyone else. My dear brothers and sisters: we need to learn to do the same thing. Although we are in this world, we do not need to live like the rest of the world. Although we speak in English, we do not need to use the rhetoric or slogans or meaningless words that so many of our brothers and sisters use today.
Recently, I read a portion of a commencement speech at a local Catholic High School. The distinguished guest speaker encouraged his young audience to “be relevant”. I think I know what he meant by that but I’m not sure because he never quite said it. What he said instead is the same rhetoric we’ve all heard before: “Be different”, “Be change”, etc. But when we use these types of slogans, it leaves a big question left unanswered; that is, “What do you mean?” What does it mean to “make a dent in this world” or “make a difference for all to see”? We assume we know what it means: “Be a positive role model.” But what the fine speaker could have said instead is something that is not often said; that is, “Be holy!” How inviting! How unambiguous! Isn’t this what you would expect from a commencement speech at a Catholic High School? How refreshing! There would be no doubt in anyone’s mind what he meant when he said, “Be relevant”. Is there anything greater than being “holy”? No. Is there anything more positive than to be “holy”? No. Is there any greater glory for anyone than to be “holy”? No. Is there something else the world could have more of? No. So why not say it? Why didn't he say it? I think it’s because he never heard it.
A few months ago, I received a beautiful little card from a student. What I read nearly brought tears to my eyes. This child wrote, “I never knew I could be a saint.” Why? Why didn’t this child know that? Was it because he never heard it? Was it because he was never taught to pray for it? Unfortunately, I believe it is.
Moms and dads: Encourage your children to be holy; to be a saint. Catholic School teachers and administrators: Encourage your students to be holy; to be a saint. Imagine for a moment if your child became a canonized saint? Imagine for a moment if your school produced another John Paul II or Mother Teresa? Is it so impossible?
We have all become secular in our thoughts, in our words and in our actions. We have been brainwashed to believe that to be respectful we need to be absent mindful; to be understanding, we need to be falling; to be loving of everyone, we need to be accepting of everything.
A child’s morals should not come from his friends, teachers, coaches or doctor. A child’s morals should come from you, the parent, and those who represent the Church you belong to. Insist on that!
We are all aware that public schools do not allow public discussion or songs that make reference to God. What we are not aware of is how teachers and administrators in public schools publically put down God. Many schools push morals on our kids. Insist that they do not!
Make yourself “holy”; make yourself another Christ! In doing so, you will truly experience the lifting up of the Cross and what the word “relevant” means.