The second temptation: Having been fed with the manna, the people of Israel demanded that God prove that he cared for them by meeting all their needs. ”(Ex 17:7). And Moses reminds them, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah” (Dt 6:16).
Actually, examining myself I see such tendencies in my own self
Often we hear preachers say, “Faith is taking a blind leap!” Is that so? Is Jesus’ unwilling to take that elite Canada dating leap from the pinnacle of the temple the lack of trust in his Father or is it the ultimate expression of faith? God does not have to show he cares for me through magic. I do not have to condition God even with my faith. I do not have to put the Lord to the test. I let God be God!
The third temptation: The Lord God desired to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land – which was a symbol of the covenant between the Him and the people. The people focussed on a physical land, which was not yet in view (even to this day)! Even as Moses was on Mt Sinai, the people of Israel turned aside from the way the Lord had led them through. They worshipped a golden calf (Ex 32:8). The Lord God reminds them, I am the Lord your God (Dt ) – as we heard read in the first reading of today.
When faced with a similar situation, Jesus chooses to trust in his Father! Despite the promise of power over “all the kingdoms of the world”, Jesus prefers the heart of the human person. He invites us to worship that which our heart is ultimately directed to: God alone!
7th Sunday of the Year _A
In the gospel text of today, as Jesus continues his ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ he reiterates, “You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). In other words, Jesus is inviting us to imitate God himself, and in the words of the Evangelist Matthew: to be perfect! What does Jesus mean? What does ‘perfection’ mean?
It is so easy to mistake perfection for legalistic order. In an attempt to be perfect, many fervent people could become overly obsessed with maintaining order in themselves and in others. These are the ‘saints’ who are difficult to live with. Such people tend to become so intolerant of others in the Christian community; they pretend to know absolutely what Christian life is all about; and they reduce Christian life to a set of laws and disciplinary procedures. And this is a temptation to reduce the deep principles proposed by Jesus to some easy rules and regulations.
So what does perfection mean? What does Jesus mean when he invites us to imitate the perfection of his Father?
In line with the Jewish tradition that the Gospel of Matthew is attempting to safeguard, while also proposing a development, Mt 5:48 could be better understood in the light of what we hear read in the first reading of today from the Book of Leviticus. Jesus seems to echo the words that are already found in the Torah: “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev 19:2). Perfection then can simply be understood as holiness. Simple enough! Rightly so, the 2nd Vatican Council spoke about “the universal call to holiness.” That is, holiness is a task and a gift extended not just to some special people in the church, but to all followers of Jesus. In other words, ‘call to holiness’ is a simple expression of the injunction of Jesus: “You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”