In Sunday’s Gospel, Matthew 5: 17-37, Jesus paints a picture for us of what it means to live a virtuous Gospel life. This life goes beyond not doing evil deeds. It isn’t enough just to keep the laws and do the right thing. This life starts within, where our attitudes and motivations lie. Of course, we shall not kill; we know that is wrong. But where does killing start? Well before any act of violence: it starts with a violent attitude toward others, with seeing violence itself as a solution, with letting anger seethe and grow until we can use it to justify lashing out.
If we know our hearts, examine our attitudes, and “repent” (“change one’s mind”), we can live a life of virtue from the inside out. That is the challenge that Jesus puts forth to us in this part of the Sermon on the Mount. Am I up to the challenge? Are you?