Unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God” (Mathew 5:20). By this, Jesus meant that there are two ways of understanding holiness: that of the scribes and Pharisees as the first, and the way he wants his disciples to be holy as the second way. The scribes and Pharisees thought themselves holy by their very status and respect and obedience to the letter of the law, rules, regulations, practices, observances and customs of Jewish culture. Yet, beyond this, the Carpenter’s son is interested in the Spirit of the law. And the holiness he teaches is not acquired by social or religious status but by a consistent effort in goodness and righteousness, in the inspiration and guidance by the spirit of the law.
This explains why he goes ahead to give a new teaching in the Gospel: to the commandment “thou shall not kill”, he adds “thou shall not get angry. In this way, Jesus is solving a problem from its original cause. For out of anger can come other sins like jealousy, envy, hatred, murder and indifference. In addition, Jesus makes it clear that we are called to reconcile with each other.
Such reconciliation is the best way to make worship and sacrifice acceptable to him. For God is not interested in the offering of food and drinks and clothes and wealth but in a humble and contrite heart. What he wants is mercy. One great way to benefit from the graces of lent is to seek reconciliation especially with those who have hurt us, or whom we have hurt in one way or another.
Dear friends in Christ, we are called by God to be world class Christians, to make a difference by surpassing the men and women of this world in the exercise of holiness. Holiness is a not a VIP commodity for a selected few Christian oligarchs. It is within our ambient and we all can be holy and should be holy, outstanding the people of this world in Christian holiness. We can attain this quest by living under the inspiration of the spirit of the law and also through reconciliation. In this way, we contribute to making the world more holy and fit for God.
Fr. Zifac Leonard Nyuydze