March 2, 2014 – Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which is continued in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew, is the Lord’s longest sermon recorded in all of Holy Scripture. It is included in two of the four Gospels — Matthew and Luke. Interestingly, Matthew states that Jesus spoke on the mountain (“He went up the mountain.” Matthew 5:1). Luke, on the other hand, maintains that Jesus gave the sermon after he came down from the mountain (“…coming down with them, he took his stand on a level stretch.” Luke 6:17). Thus, Luke’s version is often called the Sermon on the Plain.
Regardless, the important aspects of the sermon are that the Lord lays out for us what we must do to be His disciples. Jesus has high expectations of us, such hopes for us, as a matter of fact, that we cannot possibly fulfill them. The point is not that we can achieve perfection in the Lord’s eyes, but that we diligently work to do so. Following stewardship as a way of life is that kind of an effort.
Today’s Gospel includes one of the most quoted statements of the entire Sermon. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Sometimes we struggle with exactly where to start. Jesus’ point is that we start with God, place our trust in Him, and the rest will follow. “Tomorrow will take care of itself.”