The most beautiful things (Mt 5:17-37)
Dear brothers and sisters! When you come to a store and ask for an item, they will give it to you if they have it. The saleswoman will then ask you to pay the required amount for it. And you must pay for these goods.
But be careful! In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Unless your righteousness is greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
So, let’s ask ourselves the question: “What did Jesus mean by this?” What is Jesus’ “greater” righteousness, or in another translation, “more significant” righteousness? To answer this question, let’s look a little at how the Pharisees understood justice. They thought that by the outward fulfillment of all the commandments and regulations they would stand before God, that is, that they would be righteous based on fulfilled duty. That is why they called the Pharisees “justified”. According to Jewish dogma, there was a certain agreement between God and man. According to her, as a merchant, God should have consistently written down what he received and what he has to give to each person. God and man stand side by side as equal business partners. And therefore, all the good deeds that a person performs will be written down by God “based on the purchase-legal relationship between himself and the person as a claim of the person”. As you’re to me, so I to you. If you’re, a man, you will perform good deeds, you will get plus, you will be healthy, you will acquire money, and you will be blessed! If you don’t do anything well, you will get a minus, you will get sick, misfortune will overtake you, you will become poor, and you will not get blessings! Such was the opinion of the synagogue. They made God a merchant, a business partner. Justice is based on “blasphemy of God”. How terrible was this religion! Jesus tries to throw away such justice and tear it out of a person’s heart like a poisonous root. Therefore, he tells the disciples that unless their righteousness is completely different, much greater than the righteousness of the Pharisees, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. These words of Jesus were true, but also terrible for the Pharisees and other listeners because they changed everything. And in the closing words of the Sermon on the Mount, says this: “When Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes marveled at his teaching.” They were deeply shaken by the
Isn’t, dear brothers and sisters, Jesus a little unfair to these Pharisees? After all, they didn’t do anything wrong, they just tried to follow the Law to the letter. But the Law is not God. And God is not the Law, either. The law is just a cold paragraph. And Jesus did not come into the world as a cold paragraph, but as a person who has a heart. Jesus kept the Law and was neither a scribe nor a Pharisee. Do you know why? Because the Law lived. He lived it and thereby filled it. He filled it with himself because he sacrificed himself for us. And since God is love and sacrificed himself for us, we can say that Jesus is sacrificial love. He filled the law with sacrificial love, and thus the law became greater justice.
Are we living God’s law, dear brothers and sisters, or are we just obeying it? If we just keep it, aren’t we like the Pharisees who keep the law to be righteous but don’t fill it with sacrificial love like Jesus? Tell me, if we could live by the law, wouldn’t it be more beautiful on earth? You cannot buy joy and happiness from God like candy in a store. Do you know why we are afraid to live by the law, why we only obey it? Because living by the law is very difficult. Living the law requires greater justice and, if necessary, sacrifice.
In this philosophical tale by the English writer Oscar Wilde, in which he writes: In the city stood a statue of a golden prince. A swallow, tired from the long flight to warm countries, sat down at the feet of the statue and fell asleep. She was suddenly awakened by a drop of water. She recovered. It’s not raining, what is it? She looked up and saw that the golden prince was crying. “Why are you crying?” she asked. “Swallow, I’m crying because I can’t give people the help they need. But you know what, I’ll do something after all.” And so he gave a ruby from his ring to the seamstress, who had nothing to warm up to. He gave a golden eye to a poor composer who had nothing to eat. He gave a second golden eye to a little girl who sold matches, and they spilled into a puddle. “And now fly, swallow because winter will come, and you will freeze,” says the golden prince. “I won’t fly away because I liked helping people. I will tear off the gold flakes and take them to people.” Reeve did not see the statue, he had it thrown away. Only her heart remained, and the dead body of the swallow, which froze at the feet of the golden prince, was also thrown into the garbage dump with the statue. Here, God said to the angels: “Bring me the two most beautiful things from the earth.” And they brought the heart of the golden prince and the dead body of the swallow.
We can buy anything in the shop when we pay for the goods. We will do justice. But such justice is never enough because a human heart filled with love cannot be bought in a store. Because love cannot be bought, it grows in a person.