Gospel of Matthew 7
“Do not judge, that you may not be judged. 2 For, just as you judge others, you will yourselves be judged, and the measure that you mete will be meted out to you. 3 And why do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye, while you pay no attention at all to the beam in yours? 4 How will you say to your brother, ‘Let me take out the straw from your eye,’ when all the time there is a beam in your own? 5 Hypocrite! Take out the beam from your own eye first, and then you will see clearly how to take out the straw from your brother’s and sister’s.
6 Do not give what is sacred to dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they should trample them under their feet, and then turn and attack you. 7 Ask, and your prayer shall be granted; search, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you. 8 For those who ask receive, those that search find, and to those who knock the door shall be opened.
9 Who among you, when your child asks you for a loaf, will give them a stone, 10 Or when they asks for a fish, will give them a snake? 11 If you, then, wicked though you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father, who is in heaven, give what is good to those that ask him!
12 Do to others whatever you would wish them do to you; for that is the teaching of both the law and the prophets. 13 Go in by the small gate. Broad and spacious is the road that leads to destruction, and those that go in by it are many; 14 For small is the gate, and narrow the road that leads to Life, and those that find it are few.
Exploring the ‘Our Father’ Prayer
15 Beware of false teachers: those who come to you in the guise of sheep, but at heart they are ravenous wolves. 16 By the fruit of their lives you will know them. Do people gather grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, too, every sound tree bears good fruit, while a worthless tree bears bad fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a worthless tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that fails to bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Hence it is by the fruit of their lives that you will know such teachers.
21 Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me: ‘Lord, Lord, was not it in your name that we taught, and in your name that we drove out demons, and in your name that we did many miracles?’ 23 And then I shall say to them plainly: ‘I never knew you. Go from my presence, you who live in sin.’
24 Everyone, therefore, that listens to this teaching of mine and acts upon it may be compared to a wise homeowner, who built their house upon rock. 25 The rain poured down, the rivers rose, the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, for its foundation was upon rock. 26 And everyone that listens to this teaching of mine and does not act upon it may be compared to a foolish one, who built their house on sand. 27 The rain poured down, the rivers rose, the winds blew and struck against that house, and it fell; and great was its downfall.”
28 By the time that Jesus had finished speaking, the crowd was filled with amazement at his teaching. 29 For he taught them like one who had authority, and not like their teachers of the law.
To read Chapter 8 of the Gospel of Matthew, please go to: Dead Bury Their Dead
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Our daily bread…
(Gathering Our Inheritance)
Knowing that we can claim ownership of our inheritance in the living hour is one thing. But what are we supposed to do with that knowledge? The childhood keys of wonderment and immediacy help unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven, but they don’t have the power to usher us across the threshold. To cross into the kingdom and gather our inheritance, we have to move beyond the carefree world of the child and into the care-driven world of adults—to expand our concerns beyond the “me” to include the “us”.
We can begin by recognizing that although the spontaneity of the child and the adult are similar, they are not one and the same. Take for example the miracles that Jesus performs in the Gospels. If we can set aside the unanswerable question of whether or not these miracles actually occurred, we can begin to see the miracle stories as parables of spontaneity, ones which teach us that living in Christ means immediately responding to the needs of others. Whether it is healing the sick,1 walking on water,2 or turning water into wine,3 Jesus never hesitates but responds spontaneously and confidently to those who call out to him.
Spontaneous charity is taught also by the story of the Good Samaritan.4 In this well–known parable a man gets robbed and beaten while on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest and a local man pass by him as he lies half–dead on the road. Finally a stranger from Samaria stops, tends to his wounds, and takes him to an inn to recuperate, paying the man’s bills—all without giving his actions a second thought.
The genuine caring shown by the Good Samaritan sheds light on Jesus’s enigmatic teaching: “When you do acts of charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your charity may be secret; and your Father, who sees what is in secret, will recompense you.”5 By performing our acts of charity spontaneously like the Samaritan, we keep them secret from our egos (that part of us which wants to debate whether we have the time, money, or energy to respond to others in need), and we allow our Christ consciousness to rise (that part of us which recognizes that when others suffer we suffer too). Our charity is thus driven by nothing except a true generosity of spirit.
Jesus encourages us to bring that same spirit to our acts of fellowship. The generosity of Christ is shown by welcoming all the members of our community to our table—the good and the bad, the funny and the dull, the smart and the annoying. Look at the way Jesus accepted twelve very flawed apostles as his intimates. That he took in Judas (knowing full well that he would betray him) and never gave up on the poor, clueless, and overzealous Peter should be a lesson to us all. Furthermore, we are told how Jesus regularly sat down to eat and drink with his neighbors,6 regardless of how “righteous” they might be or what other people thought—so much so that he was unfairly labeled a glutton and a wino.7
Never has Jesus’s gospel of fellowship and acceptance had more…
The Lord’s Prayer. To continue reading, click on page 2 at the bottom.
- “Sir,” he said, “my servant is lying ill at my house with a stroke of paralysis, and is suffering terribly.” 7 “I will come and cure him,” answered Jesus. – Matthew 8:6–7 [↩]
- When evening fell, the boat was out in the middle of the sea, and Jesus on the shore alone. 48 Seeing them laboring at the oars—for the wind was against them—about three hours after midnight Jesus came towards them, walking on the water, intending to join them. – Mark 6:47–48 [↩]
- Jesus said to the servants: “Fill the water-jars with water;” 8 And, when they had filled them to the brim, he added: “Now take some out, and carry it to the master of the feast.” The servants did so. 9 And, when the master of the feast had tasted the water which had now become wine, not knowing where it had come from—although the servants who had taken out the water knew—10 He called the bridegroom and said to him: “Everyone puts good wine on the table first, and inferior wine afterwards, when his guests have drunk freely; but you have kept back the good wine till now!” – John 2:6–10 [↩]
- A man was once going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him of everything, and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 As it chanced, a priest was going down by that road. He saw the man, but passed by on the opposite side. 32 A Levite, too, did the same; he came up to the spot, but, when he saw the man, passed by on the opposite side. 33 But a Samaritan, traveling that way, came upon the man, and, when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, dressing them with oil and wine, and then put him on his own mule, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out four shillings and gave them to the inn-keeper. ‘Take care of him,’ he said, ‘and whatever more you may spend I will myself repay you on my way back.’ – Luke 10: 30–35 [↩]
- Matthew 6:3–4 [↩]
- The Pharisees and the teachers of the law found fault. “This man always welcomes sinners, and takes meals with them!” they complained. – Luke 15:2 [↩]
- And now that the Son of Man has come, eating and drinking, they are saying: ‘Here is a glutton and a wino, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Matthew 11:19 [↩]