the highest moral standards
"You have heard the commandment, 'You shall not commit adultery.' What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts.' " —Matthew 5:27-28
Jesus did not believe in working on the sabbath, but He did cause a controversy by healing on the sabbath. He was also not ultra-strict about washing His hands before eating (see Mt 15:2). Moreover, Jesus did not require His disciples to fast until after He ascended into heaven (see Mt 9:14ff). He also stopped an adulteress from being put to death (Jn 8:3ff).
Some people misunderstood Jesus' actions. They thought He was trying to be popular by being permissive. However, Jesus set the record straight by proclaiming: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them" (Mt 5:17). Jesus then proceeded to set the highest moral standards in history. He condemned not only murder but growing angry (Mt 5:22). He forbade not only adultery but also lustful glances and thoughts (Mt 5:28). Jesus also opposed divorce although it was accepted in the Bible (Mt 5:32). He even commanded us to love our enemies and to offer no resistance to injury (Mt 5:44, 39).
Jesus is not permissive; He is impossibly demanding. We will be hopelessly frustrated in trying to fulfill Jesus' moral standards. Our only hope is to come to Jesus (see Mt 11:28) and turn our lives over to Him. We cannot meet His standards, but we can "let it be done" to us according to His word (see Lk 1:38). "He Who calls us is trustworthy, therefore He will do it" (1 Thes 5:24).
Prayer: Father, I must be, but cannot be, holy. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me from this impossible situation.
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: Alleluia! Jesus has conquered death for us! Alleluia!
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013
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