In today’s reading from Deuteronomy we are called to choose life by loving and obeying God. Much of today’s gospel reading echoes portions of the Ten Commandments. Jesus’ instructions to the crowd reveal a pattern of behavior that honors both God and the neighbor, resulting in life and health for the whole community. We too are invited to embrace these commandments, not out of fear of retribution, but because God has promised that to do so means life for us.
27You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that any man who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whichever man marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is God’s footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great Sovereign. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”