MT 5:20-22A, 27-28, 33-34A, 37

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,

You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.

But I say to you, whoever is angry with brother will be liable to judgment. “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

Jesus Finds A Way In

In every family that I know, there’s at least one person who likes to get a rise out of everybody else. The one who tweaks, who jibes, who calls out your assumptions or always takes the opposite position. (If you don’t know of anyone like that in your family, darling, it’s probably you.)

These people…of course we love them because they’re family, but they are so annoying. Just have some dip and leave us alone, for God’s sake. We didn’t come to Christmas dinner to think!

As much as we like to think about Jesus as the guy who enjoyed company and big dinners, was friends with the rejected and needy, paid attention to women and children, it’s clear he was also one of those people who liked to say things that would get a reaction. He wanted to get us thinking about our behavior. We may not be breaking the letter of the law, murdering people, committing adultery, lying. But are we being forgiving, true to our word, respectful of others?

The great theologian Johann Baptist Metz once wrote that “religion is interruption….We’re so busy and so set in our ways, often the only way God can get through to us is by doing something dramatic, something so radical we can’t help but stop.” It’s the spiritual equivalent of the pie in the face. And it may annoy us to no end; but Jesus rejoices, because even annoyance means he’s found a way in.

—Fr. Jim McDermott, S.J, a Wisconsin province Jesuit, is an accomplished professional screenwriter who lives at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles CA.


Life-giving God, in your loving plan Jesus Christ became flesh and changed our history by his invitation to perfect love. May our own fulfillment of this command help bring your salvation to all the corners of our globe. Amen!