Jesus is the most eminent among those who, free from sin and anxiety, commit themselves to God and the neighbor.
Having Moses as mediator, God announced the commandments on Mount Sinai. But in these last days, God, speaking to us through his Son, also on a mountain, proclaims a New Charter. It is the definitive one, which will set us free.
Perhaps we protest like those who have believed in Jesus. But he replies, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”
So, even after leaving Egypt, the Israelites continue to be slaves. They were already free, surely, from Egyptian oppression by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm. But they had second thoughts, showing thus that they hardly understood the importance of their liberation and the omnipotence of their Liberator.
For they blamed Moses. And they rebuked him to his face, “Did we not tell you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians.’” Hungry, they daydreamed, too, of sitting by their fleshpots and eating their fill of bread. In their thirst, they grumbled against Moses. They apparently did not want to be free.
But God did not leave the Israelites to their sorry state of misunderstanding and lack of desire to be free. He uttered the words of the commandments on Sinai. Hence, it becomes clear, in effect, what liberation consists in. To be free is to love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves.
With the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers us a new way of keeping the law and the prophets more fully. He is the preeminent embodiment of this way.
Jesus is the poor who trusts in God absolutely. That is why he cannot but love God. He is the firstborn among the humble who seek the Lord and observe his law. Besides, he leads those God has chosen in order to shame the strong and the honorable. That is because Jesus is the least powerful and the most despised.
And he does not turn back in the face of opposition, persecution, insults and calumnies. Nor does he give up. Meek, merciful and simple, he seeks the kingdom of God and his righteousness and peace to the end, obedient to death on the cross.
And to encourage us to imitate him, Jesus has also left us a memorial of his wonderful work.
Grant, Lord, that I be a true Christian, not just a caricature of a Christian (SV.EN XII:222).
29 December 2017
4th Sunday ib O.T. (A)
Zeph 2, 3; 3, 12-13; 1 Cor 1, 26-31; Mt 5, 1-1a