“You have heard it said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ”These are words that Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel today (Matt 5:17-37).
And Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Jesus! I do not think that we are going to find any quote from Jesus in today’s Gospel on any Valentine’s Day card from Hallmark or American Greeting. Today’s Gospel is what the early Christian community remembers of the variety of sayings that Jesus spoke.
Some of Jesus’ sayings are direct and clear – like the one about being reconciled with your brother or your sister before approaching the altar. Some of his sayings use highly inflated language – like gouging out your right eye or cutting off your right hand and throwing it away if your eye or your hand causes you to sin.
I hope Jesus does not want us to take him literally here. Jesus greatly overstates his case to make his point so that his disciples and his listeners would remember. A God Alert
What is Jesus getting at with all of these quotes? INTEGRITY. The word INTEGRITY means honesty, truthfulness, fairness and decency. We have gotten to the point in our country where we expect just the opposite – the worst of people.
One day a police officer pulled a motorist over to the curb and demanded to see his license. The officer studied the license suspiciously for a couple of minutes before returning it to the driver. The officer explained: “You were driving so carefully, I thought for sure you had an invalid license or you were hiding a gun or some drugs.”
Things have gotten so bad in our country that we expect our leaders to lack integrity, honesty, truthfulness, fairness and decency.
I could spend the next few sentences being specific and pointing out how the words of Jesus are in direct conflict with the words and the actions of the leaders of our country today. But I am not going to do this. Why?
I know full well what would happen to me if I specifically pointed out the lack of integrity, honesty, truthfulness, fairness and decency of the leaders of our country. You would come to church next weekend and there would be another person hanging on a second cross next to Jesus – ME! The Bad Thief!
One of the greatest scenes in the movies over the past 30 years happens in the movie Moonstruck. Rose, played by Olivia Dukakis has a husband named Cosmo. He has been cheating on her for quite some time. This has been driving Rose crazy for years.
While Cosmo is at the opera with his lady friend, Rose winds up having dinner at a lovely restaurant with a nice gentleman named Perry. He walks her home after a delightful evening.
Perry asks Rose if he can come inside. Rose looks straight at him and says: “No, I’m not going to invite you in, not because I’m married, but because I KNOW WHO I AM!!”
I pray that you will take all the time you need this weekend to GET TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE – a Christian of integrity, honesty, truthfulness, fairness and decency who is not afraid to walk alongside of Jesus.