June 8, 2016
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)
Jesus must have raised some eyebrows with this statement from today’s gospel.
His followers were used to hearing that they must follow the commandments, but this was the first they were hearing of this added responsibility of making sure others follow them as well. Being accountable for the actions of others is not easy, and certainly won’t make us very popular.
This mandate is, however, in line with the two greatest commandments: Love God and love others.
Loving others is more than saying “I love you,” giving them a hug, or buying them gifts. When we love others we want the best for them. We watch out for them and help steer them down the right path.
This is easy to do when the “others” in questions are lovable, and are already on the right path. It’s not so easy to do for those who are more challenging. Those who are difficult to love and guide are the ones who need us the most. They will push back, perhaps even get angry, and our efforts to love them and be accountable for them will leave us exhausted and frustrated.
This work we are called to do is sacrificial. We may never experience the fruits of these efforts while here on earth, but will receive our reward in the Kingdom of Heaven.