Lenten Gospel Reflection for Thursday, February 26th, 2021
Right behavior, or “Righteousness” is emphasized throughout the Holy Writ. Righteousness is simply that which satisfies the demands of goodness or law. It is doing what is right. In the context of scripture, to be called righteous means that a person is in a right standing with God. In the ancient Jewish mindset, they primarily thought of righteousness in terms of keeping the law of Moses.
However, by the time of Christ, the Scribes and Pharisees had expanded the law to an ungodly proportion. In reality, it was virtually impossible possible to keep the 248 commandments and 365 prohibitions of the Mosaic Law and the thousands of rules in their own man made legal system. Therefore, for Jesus to demand even greater righteousness must have left His hearers gasping in dismay and conscious of their own sinfulness.
Verses 21-47 of Matthew 5 explain how the Pharisees' and scribes' righteousness should be surpassed. They reveal that true righteousness is to exceed Pharisaic righteousness in kind rather than degree. True righteousness is from the heart rather than mere outward observance. It is not enough to be content with an external and formal obedience, for the righteousness that is pleasing to God is inward righteousness of mind and motive (cf. Ro. 2:28-29; 9:6; Phil. 3:3). Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8).
This is the righteousness foreseen by the prophets as one of the blessings of the Messianic age (Jeremiah 3:33; Ezekial 36:27) when God would put His Law and His Spirit within us. Without this righteousness, none shall enter the kingdom of heaven.
It is of ultimate importance that we develop a properly formed moral consciousness — developed around authentic Christian moral principles. Do you have the law of God’s righteousness written in your heart? Do you grieve with a sense of guilt and contrition when you fall short of God’s ideal? My sisters and brothers, modern PC moral standards are NOT God’s.
How about taking time this lent to understand just what God really expects of us. What are God’s expectations for Human Sexuality? Are God’s ideals really reflected in the views of Modern liberal churches acquiescing to the wisdom of this age? Is there really any way to justify voting for politicians who are committed to implementing ungodly agendas like Abortion and subjecting children to gender mutilation? My friends, each of us MUST take the time to reevaluate our responses to the ongoing culture wars. Many, if not most in this present generation is being blinded to God’s moral imperatives. We are God’ hands, feet, and voice in this age. Our Children and Grandchildren’s future depends on those of who hear God’s voice to become the voice of opposition to the pharisaical and ungodly requirements of our age.
Salvation will never be found by following worldly wisdom. But, with that said, we mustn’t let our own righteousness become a hypocritical self righteousness, with imprecatory accusations. We must understand that truly, “ALL have sinned.” In our speaking out against the sins of our age we must do so out of our Love of God, and compassion for our neighbors.
I quite often feel like the reincarnation of John the Baptist, crying out in the desert, a message of REPENTANCE. WIll you join with me in proclaiming God’s expectations to this generation? Lent is a time for us to reevaluate our lIves, especially our Spirituality. Are we simply complying to the letter of the law, or is God’s moral law written on your heart?
Heavenly Father, write your law on my heart. Form within me a rightly formed conscience. I pray for all that read these reflections that their hearts will be opened to your TRUTH. I pray that the scales will be removed from their eyes and opened to understand that the evil one is leading many to destruction. Please Lord, give many a heart of repentance and contrition. Allow multitudes of those who call upon your name to humble themselves and pray that you’ll heal our land. Help us, your Children to apply Christ’s righteousness to our own lives. AMEN
GOSPEL — Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
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