A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 5:27-32:
27 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
28 But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
30 And if your right-hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.
31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
32 But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
6/10/2022 Gospel Reflection: The Pursuit of Holiness
The gospel above tells us that adultery, lust, and divorce are sinful activities. Yet these are the very things majority of the people are guilty of. Anyone who is not lustful, please raise your hand. No one dares to, perhaps. Indeed, we commit sin with our thoughts, words and deeds and many times we just cannot control it. Try as we may to avoid sinning, we fail again and again and we often fail miserably.
It is so easy to commit sin. That is why Saint Paul writes in Romans 3:23 that everyone has sinned and falls short of the glory of God. Yet God is our loving Father. He understands our weaknesses and wickedness. He also knows our hardheartedness and self-centeredness. He is aware of our thoughts and motivation. He can easily forgive us if we humbly ask for it.
Despite our human weakness, Jesus still gives us a standard for holiness. A very high standard at that! Who can follow it? Jesus Himself provides the answer. With man it is impossible but not with God (Matthew 19:26). That is why He asks us to abide in Him because apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Jesus is inviting us to pursue holiness relentlessly and obsessively. Weak as we are, we don’t go and consummate every lust and desire. Yet we do not go about hating ourselves for our failure to be pure in mind and heart. We go into prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen us especially in the face of temptation. We fall but by the grace of God, we get up, ask for forgiveness and try again. God knows how much we try.
Dear Jesus, I offer you my weaknesses and wickedness. Please forgive me for all my sins and help me to become holy as I can be. Amen.