Jesus is the Son through whom God has spoken to us humans in these last days. We Christians are to approach and hear him, and be what he says.
God wanted the Israelites to prepare for his coming down to Mount Sinai to give them the law. He told them, through Moses, to show respect. So, they should be clean. Also, they were not to approach the mountain or touch its foot.
Jesus —as Matthew has it— goes up the mountain and gives the new law. The crowds stay back, but the disciples approach him. There is no frightening thing that they witness. And they know who they are; they see that they are not worthy of him (see Freund).
It seems, then, that it counts more to them to hear what Jesus says than to be clean before him. One can maybe guess that they accept what to be with Jesus and, hence, the Eucharist, is: it “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47).
But, of course, it is not enough to approach Jesus and hear him. The true disciples also do what they hear their Teacher say. They let him infect them with his self-emptying love, so that they catch it. That is to say, they become like the one who is not out for himself but for others (see Rom 15, 3). With him, they get to embody the upside-down world that the Sermon on the Mount means.
Are we of this small remnant, of what is left of the group of true disciples? The Sermon on the Mount, for sure, is the norm to use to examine our conscience. And may God grant me, an elderly man, to find out, before it is too late, where true bliss lies (SV.EN XI:123).
Lord Jesus, grace and truth come through you; let us approach you. And teach us to work with you to build a world that is turned upside down.
29 January 2023
4th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Zeph 2, 3; 3, 12-13; 1 Cor 1, 26-31; Mt 5, 1-12a