To begin our reflection today, it’s important once more to go back to the beginning of this series of teachings that Jesus is giving us that make up the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had told his disciples, “The reign of God is at hand; change your lives.” “The reign of God is at hand; change your lives,” so that you may live in that reign of God where God’s love permeates everything.
All of creation is living according to the law of God’s love, and all of the people that God has created — all men and women, everyone — is under that reign of God’s love so that we live in a way that every person has a fullness of life. We find peace and joy. All the good things that God has given for all are shared by all.
This is the reign of God, but it’s at hand. We only enter into it when we change our lives according to the way of Jesus. That is what he’s been teaching us in the Sermon on the Mount, starting with that value system we call the beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor; blessed are the humble; blessed are those who are gentle; bless those who seek justice; blessed are those who are peacemakers; blessed are those who are sincere of heart.” These are the values that Jesus makes his own and that he lives and proclaims to us as the way we must live in the reign of God.
And then last week Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes, who were concerned about how he was maybe destroying all that God had promised to the people of old, he said, “No, I have come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it — to transform it, to make the law now a law fitting for the reign of God,” and Jesus really does show us how he goes beyond what is contained in the law.…