Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
(I king 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16)
According to social philosopher David Brooks people today like to think of themselves as good. Yet they find themselves, as always, giving in to selfishness and other vices. How do they live with the contradiction? They mix and match trying to keep themselves on the positive side of the moral ledger. For example, they may justify taking $20 they see lying on the floor but turn in a wallet with $100 by saying that the $100 obviously belonged to somebody. Such moral calculus hardly approaches what Jesus has in mind in the gospel today.
Jesus wants his disciples to be perfect. They are to give good example and, indeed, attract others by their moral rectitude. In fact, they are to live in such exemplary ways that their neighbors will thank God for having them in their midst.
We should never justify immoral acts by saying that everyone does them. The statement is false and in any case does not live up to Jesus’ expectations. Some moralists criticize using as a guide to good behavior, “What would Jesus do?” Perhaps it is difficult to extrapolate Jesus’ actions in modern society. But we can certainly ask, “What does Jesus want us to do?” We hear him telling us in the gospel today to act as a model for everyone to follow.