Does today’s gospel reading make you nervouse? It does me. It sounds like Jesus is suggesting that every other person has the dignity of Jesus. That every other person demands to be treated by Christians as we would treat Jesus himself. And I do not do that.
Some people. I treat some people like they are Jesus. But not all. I may even treat most people I encounter as if they were Jesus. But not all. I know I do not. And there is the rub. For what failures will I hear Jesus say to me, “I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink”?
The first reading makes the suggestion that Christianity (or Judaism) can be about only following rules. But later in the reading we are reminded about the importance of the inner heart, the need to be attentive not only to what we show others, but more importantly the room we make for God in our heart.
It is not just killing, but being angry. It is not just committing adultery, it is confronting lust. It is not just lying, but avoiding the inner disposition that wants to say things in a way that may technically be true, but are statements designed to mislead.
The most important lesson is the profound human dignity we all possess because we are created in God’s image. And that everyone we see, in our lives, on our streets, in the news, is an invitation to serve Jesus. So, as you leave, remember, today you are going to meet Jesus.