I reminded him that he should look at his life in a different way. The scribes and the Pharisees presumably kept the commandments also; in fact, they prided themselves on their precise observance of the law in the Torah. But it seems that maybe they will not enter the kingdom of heaven (implied in v.20 of our Gospel reading today, Matthew 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37). There seems to be something missing. Perhaps the key lies in this word “uprightness.” Jesus lays down a condition to enter into the kingdom of heaven: one’s “uprightness” must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.
Our goal is holiness, which enables union with God. Holiness ensures our goodness,” a word which simply means that we are in right relationship with God. However, surface-level spirituality does not lead to holiness but is really partial spiritual blindness.
Jesus is asking us in today’s gospel to get radical, to go to the roots of our thoughts, words and deeds and ask ourselves, “is this thought, word or act one of holiness and worthy of God’s blessing?” He spells out the significance of the Ten Commandments when he says that angry and insulting words are condemned because they violate a person’s dignity. Again, Jesus teaches that lustful thoughts are condemned because they violate the virtue of chastity as much as the act of adultery itself.
Our sanctification comes about through the action of the Holy Spirit. We must respond, repent, and renew our efforts to live in right relationship with God.
Every Christian is called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.
There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.