We ascend the mountain in our reading today, where Jesus teaches his followers. Before him, Moses brought God’s word to the Israelites from a high mountain. Now, as a new Moses, Jesus teaches God’s word. He does not abolish what the great patriarch taught; he brings it to fulfillment.
We often listen to the Sermon on the Mount during the days of Lent. Let’s listen carefully. Sublime promises are made here; our God is gracious and near. But our gospel reminds us sublime things are reached by small steps. We must keep the “least commandments,” to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
This is a season–our readings says– for remembering that small things like a cup of cold water, a visit to the sick, feeding someone hungry, clothing someone naked, speaking a “word to the weary to rouse them” are important commandments of God.
Yes, lent calls us to think great thoughts and embrace great visions of faith. But the law of God often comes down to small things, and the greatest in the kingdom of God are the best at seeing them.
“The most important things for you are: humility of heart, patience, meekness, charity toward all, and seeing in your neighbor an image of God and loving him in God and for God.” ( St. Paul of the Cross, Letter 1114)
What small step do you want me to take today, O Lord?
Help me see what’s right before me.
There’s a neighbor before me now,
made in your image.
What small gift can I give?