Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
There is a thread that ties the readings together this morning. Follow the whole law. It's not enough to follow the aspects of the law that are easy and ignore the more difficult parts. It's not sufficient to pick and choose the commandments that are most convenient. That's like getting pulled over for running a stop sign and arguing that you were at least driving the speed limit.
Of course, we often put on our lawyer hats when we think about the laws. We argue that cheating on our taxes is not actually stealing if we don't get caught. We wrestle with the scope of murder as we weigh the costs and benefits of war. We might even stretch the concept of honoring father and mother when they tell us to go to bed during the World Series game but we stay up to watch the end. Justified? We like to argue that the law has wiggle room.
But Jesus takes it one step further. Not only are we to follow the law, but our hearts must be committed to the love of God. What might pull us away from God? Where might our allegiance be divided? Jesus was not as much concerned with what you can get away with if you stretch the law. He recognized that the purpose of the law was to keep us in relationship with God and one another. If money or jealousy or racism or pride or anything else pulls us away from God and neighbor, we are not following the whole law.
So, take some time to think about your focus and commitments. What is bringing you closer to God? How are you building up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? What is pulling you away from God? What is causing you to turn you back on God and others? We are not alone as we struggle with this. Call someone and talk together about these tensions. Help one another and hold each other accountable to loving in full and not in part.