Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gospel Text for Sunday, February 6, 2011

Matthew 5:13-20

Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

1 comment:

  1. In 1930 Mahatma Gandhi led more than 100,00 Indian people on a march to the seaside town of Dandi, where people of every class and distinction illegally made salt to protest the oppressive British salt tax. This act of civil disobedience was instrumental in liberating the Indian people from oppressive British law. This act was intended to fulfill God’s law of mercy and love.

    And that is precisely what Jesus was asking the disciples to do when he instructed them to be as salt. He did not instruct them to become a new kind of religious officials, he did not model for them a way of replacing one kind of oppressive law with another. Jesus called for a radical and subversive new way of being. A few chapters after this reading Matthew’s Jesus said, “ Go and see what it means – I want mercy not sacrifice…” (12.7)

    The way of sacrifice is the way of excluding what is undesirable. It is the way of judging who is good and who is not so good, who is in and who is out. It is the way of separation of classes and power and resources and access to resources. It is the way of sacrificing some for the benefit of others. It is the way of maintaining the status quo, the structures of imperial control. In his life, death and resurrection Jesus revealed the way of transformed life whereby sacrifice of the other is transformed into self-sacrifice, wherein the law of judgment is transformed into the law of love.

    Jesus was and is the fulfillment of the law because he transformed the way of the world into the way of God’s kingdom. Jesus transformed the way of self-righteousness into the way of righteousness for other.