Gospels in a Year

Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:21-32

21 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Today’s Commentary:

You fool!: The Greek transliterates an Aramaic term that implies a lack of intelligence. It is an insult that means something like “empty head” or “numskull”.

The hell of fire: The Greek expression (also in 5:29-30) denotes the Valley of Gehenna south of Jerusalem. It served as a large dump where garbage was burned continually. Jesus uses the image to illustrate the frightful reality of damnation (CCC 1034-35). See word study: Hell at Mk 9.

Adultery: Like the Mosaic Law, Jesus forbids acts of adultery (Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18). Yet he extends the prohibition to forbid even personal lust and interior thoughts of impurity. Looking and thinking “lustfully” (5:28) already violate the New Law, even if the exterior act of adultery is not committed (CCC 2380).

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