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. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 5:19
I have learned from a couple of different sources recently that you can't take much of what is written in the gospels literally. Even passages I thought were straightforward are turning out to have a much deeper meaning. As a result, I now find myself questioning everything I read, wondering if there is a deeper message I am not getting. However, until I am told otherwise by a respected source, I must continue to read the Word of God as I always have, and trust that the Holy Spirit will inspire me as I read. So here goes.
Jesus tells us we must lead by example. 'Do as I say not as I do' just won't cut it. And we do lead by example, whether we like it or not. Everyone whose lives we touch can plainly see by our actions what kind of person we are, what our beliefs are. Do we spread gossip, or do we point out the good in others? Do we try to beat all the other cars to the next red light, or do we allow some of them to slide in front of us?
Do you live in fear of breaking the commandments, or causing someone else to do so? Maybe you should. To be called 'least in heaven' must be a terrible thing. But to be called 'greatest in the kingdom of heaven,' how amazing would that be! It sounds like a tall order, and it is. But we can only do our best. Think about your actions. Strive to keep God's commandments. And be glad to lead by example.
Today's gospel reading has a long form and a short form. Most likely you will hear the short form during mass. The verse above is taken from the long form.