The First Reading and the Gospel are all about temptation—an appropriate theme for the First Sunday of Lent. And surely something we all know about!
We continue to work our way through the Sermon on the Mount this Sunday with some apparent teaching on non-violence. Jesus says quite categorically, ‘Offer the wicked man no resistance.’ And then later on he adds, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’ This is looks like some very strong teaching indeed and certainly runs completely opposite to the way the world thinks about things.
There is some very difficult material in today’s Gospel. ‘If anyone kills he will answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.’ ‘You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ ‘If your right hand causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.’
We didn’t hear the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time because instead we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation on that day. Ordinarily it would have been an account of the Beatitudes with which Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount and in which we find the very heart of the Gospel message.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket