Monday, June 18, 2012

Matthew Chapter 6

The Sermon on the Mount continues…

Jesus focuses on prayer and right relationship with God in this chapter. He also has something to say about anxiety and worry. His teaching is remarkably practical: he is addressing real life stuff that everyone encounters. And that’s one of the great things about being a Catholic Christian I think.

Life happens: it happens all around us with or without us realizing it. And when it happens we perceive that it’s either happening for the better or for the worse and we either respond positively or negatively.  Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount is all about responding to Life and God in a way that is healthiest and holiest and life-giving. Take for instance what he has to say about anxiety (vv. 25-34). Perhaps you struggle with either a large or small degree of anxiety. Wherever you are Jesus’s words both comfort and instruct and challenge: and that, ultimately, is life-giving.

A brief word study: in verse 24 Jesus talks about serving two masters: God and mammon. Well, we know who God is and how we serve him. Let’s talk about mammon. Mammon is a Aramaic word that means ‘wealth’ or ‘property’. Jesus is offering a warning that too much concern over money or possessions or social status, etc., can get in the way of the relationship we have with God. Sometimes, that over-concern can even get in the way with the relationships we have with the people in our life. 

One more word about the Sermon on the Mount, and I should have mentioned this when we started chapter 5… This is one of those parts of Scripture that we should read over and over. Because it’s so dense and so packed and so complex and varied, it’s a good practice to read over it maybe once or twice a month so that it can soak in over time. If we allow it to saturate our minds and hearts, it can change the way we respond to all of life’s circumstances. It can also draw us closer to God, closer to holiness and closer to the people we love.

Point for Prayer
Reread vv. 5-15. And at the end, in your own words, offer a pray to God asking Him to send the Holy Spirit to plant deep in your heart the full meaning of the Sermon on the Mount. Then offer an Our Father and close with a moment of silence.

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