God believes in, and wants the best for, You…the Commandments reduce bad consequences in life
The Readings, today, seem to be dictating to us, rather than inviting us. And the tone seems to be “take it or leave it”: almost like God doesn’t care if we keep the Commandments or not.
However, on a closer reading of the texts, God is not demanding that we be perfect: Today Jesus is offering wise advice to the hearers about how to avoid making serious mistakes. Like a father preparing his son to leave home, God wants to give us every opportunity to avoid making mistakes that will punish us later.
For example: if you don’t want to be arrested for murder, try not to get angry with people. It is usually when we are angry that we act without thinking and hit people: sometimes people die.
The First Reading should be taken as an invitation to make a decision to try our best: God is saying: “I believe in you, and with My help you will overcome the evil around you.” What’s important is that we make a decision to WANT to keep the Commandments and, when we make mistakes, we say sorry and learn from the failure:
1) we can seek help for addictive behaviour – requires humility, but helps a lot;
2) change the places we go & the people we meet: we remove the things that draw us into sin.
Young people these days are really challenged to avoid pornography. As a consequence, they often fall into sexual sins which cause them shame and frustration with themselves.
Those sins can then lead to other sins where the sin of abortion may feel like a way out, but becomes a life-long regret that can destroy peace of mind for both men and women.
It is easy, as older people to criticise the youth for their addictions but we, as older people, must take responsibility for allowing many temptations to exist in our society.
As a society, I believe we need to do more to force Governments to restrict pornography in ways that make it easy for people to block the content, or make it more difficult to access.
Men, especially in Africa, see themselves as warriors: a warrior provides and protects society. Sadly, too many men have gone to sleep. The enemy no longer carries a spear, or a gun.
Corruption has become so widespread in our nation that it’s becoming another great temptation to people of all ages: it’s like it is no longer considered to be sinful behaviour. And that is the great danger in our lives: when we say an evil thing is not evil.
The Gospel’s great theme today is encouraging us to look at the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. The letter of the law can be arranged so that we get avoid keeping the law. But the spirit of the law cannot be changed:
God’s laws are not designed to punish us for wrongdoing. God’s laws are designed to stop us from blocking God’s love coming into the world.
Corruption and pornography are two of the key issues destroying people’s lives in Kenya today. What can we do about them? We encourage each other to be honest about our failures so that we can change our behaviour as individuals.
When enough individuals change then society, with God’s help, automatically changes. Let’s pray for each other and be less hasty to condemn others who make mistakes. Rather, let us encourage them to try again.
God only expects us to keep trying, not to always succeed. As Mother Teresa said, let us pray for faithfulness and success will follow.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI