The Deep End – The bare minimum
There are times when we try to get by with the bare
minimum. Maybe we have scraped through an exam
with the minimum of effort, or done a last-minute
rush job to complete a work project. Plenty of us
know what it’s like to do just enough around the
house to keep it from descending into total chaos!
Perhaps unconsciously, we sometimes take the
same approach to our relationships – only phoning a
parent once in a blue moon to ‘check in’, or visiting a
friend only when we are reminded. It can be easy to
slip into a pattern of acting out of a sense of duty
rather than love.
Of course, our faith can go the same way. Are
there times when we approach the Eucharist with a
niggling feeling that something is not quite right? If
so, Jesus has some strong words for us in today’s
Gospel. If we believe that all we are expected to do is
‘follow the rules’, we have missed something
important. Jesus does not want us to merely follow
the letter of the law. Where is the joy or the
challenge in that? He tells us that our virtue must go
deeper than simply doing the bare minimum. Not
only must we not kill, we must not be angry with
others. Not only must we not break a promise, we
must be honest in all our dealings and in our speech.
If we approach the altar without being on good terms
with others, we are not in true communion with God.
Obeying the rules is the bare minimum. The
Gospel is calling us to a more radical way of living.