Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on February 13, 2023 View all Gospel Reflection

Jesus builds a shield around the law or Commandments in order to create more space and distance so that we won’t even bump up against the fence or sit on the fence, but rather keep a healthy distance.

For example, the commandment that thou shall not commit adultery. The boundary is actually set to avoid “heart adultery” fueled by lust. Jesus says take drastic measures to avoid crossing this boundary through the metaphor of tearing out one’s eye and cutting off a hand.

The right eye represents the side of ourselves that is consciously developed, where we know that we consent to see persons that we are not treating as real human beings that they but rather we project onto them our desires.

The left side of ourselves, of which we are not very aware, is the deeper life of our soul.  At times we must sacrifice what is psychologically developed if it takes over and excludes our totality. Tearing out our right eye is to realize that evil is a privation, the absence of a good that ought to be present.

Cut off power to your computer. Join a 12 Step group. It’s better than your whole body being tossed into hell fire.

Consider that Saint Padre Pio said that “The Devil is like a rabid dog tied by a chain. Beyond the length of the chain he cannot catch hold of anyone. And you, therefore, keep your distance. If you get too close you will be caught.

Murder is obviously wrong, but the protective shield is to not even nurture resentments– “Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Matthew 5:22

We are talking about just the intention here, not even the act of murder. Crossing the fence already has happened if we insult people like ‘Raqa” which means idiot, or teasing a younger sibling, for example.

When we are wronged, we must not let anger and its hunger for vengeance to overwhelm us and transgress the command of love. St. Thomas Aquinas recommends the virtues of clemency and meekness, which come under the heading of temperance, which deals with the governance of excessive desires. Clemency moderates our wanting excessive punishment. Meekness reduces the interior passion of excessive anger, thereby providing an interior peace for discernment. These two virtues help prevent just anger toward evil from being sinful anger that leads to greater wounds. Yet this does not mean that we overlook our neighbor’s responsibility to confess, do penance, and accept the consequence for wrongs committed.

A last example is divorce in a valid marriage-

In principle, and in actuality in God’s eyes, the divorced woman is still the wife of her husband, and the man who divorces his wife makes her an adulteress on the presumption that she will marry again. The man who marries the divorced woman both shares in her adultery and also commits that offense himself, because the divorced woman is still married to her first husband. A paper divorce decree can’t change that spiritual reality.

Crossing the boundary is to threaten divorce in the first place, or infidelity physically or financially or staying in conflict with your spouse, even though these actions do not in any way invalidate a marriage.

Start by acknowledging the things you might be doing wrong.

Take a collaborative approach. Spend some time brainstorming ways to solve the problem and don’t judge each other’s ideas, then, mutually pick one that sounds like a good compromise to both of you and commit to trying it out. [source: internet].

Accept the fact that only you can determine where you want to go and how you are going to get there. 

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