Sunday 19 February 2017
Sun 19th. 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18. The Lord is kind and merciful—Ps 102(103):1-4, 8, 10, 12-13. 1 Corinthians 3:16-23. Matthew 5:38-48.
You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Scripture scholars sometimes refer to the ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus—aspects of his teaching which may, at first glance, seem unduly demanding, even unreasonable. Matthew records a few of them in today’s gospel. Do we respond to them, as many of Jesus’ disciples did on another occasion, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ (Jn 6:60). ‘Does this offend you?’ Jesus asked them. Whilst we acknowledge that our Christian faith is a gift of inestimable value, we must also acknowledge that there is no such thing as ‘cheap grace’ (to borrow Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s phrase). The cost of discipleship is no less than everything. ‘From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required’ (Lk 12:48).