living the impossible
"I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God." —Matthew 5:20
Jesus has higher standards than anyone who has ever lived. He has the highest standards for harmony in relationships (Mt 5:22), purity in sexuality (Mt 5:28), faithfulness in marriage (Mt 5:32), truth in speech (Mt 5:34), and love for enemies (Mt 5:39, 44). In Jesus, we don't just control our tempers but crucify them (Gal 5:24). Jesus commands us to destroy our bodies rather than look lustfully at someone else's body, and to divorce ourselves from unforgiveness and sin rather than from our spouses. Jesus commands us to express the truth rather than express our own agenda. We are to treat our enemies even better than we treat our friends (see Lk 15:20ff).
Jesus' standards are intentionally impossible. Humanly speaking, we cannot meet these standards, no matter how hard we try. To do so, we would have to be born over again into new creatures. Jesus is not into self-improvement, but self-denial. We're not concerned with behavior modification but rebirth. We don't try to educate our old nature but drown it in the waters of baptism. We're not trying to make ourselves better, but to let Him make us new.
Prayer: Father, by Your grace may I live the impossible and prove that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6).
Promise: "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him." —1 Cor 2:9
Praise: Praise Jesus, Whose impossible love has set us free!
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Be Holy, for I Am Holy.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010
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