In today’s gospel from Matthew (Matthew 5:17-19) Jesus speaks from a mountain, a place where sublime things are taught. Moses before him brought God’s word to the Israelites from a high mountain. Now, Jesus teaches as the New Moses, in the Sermon on the Mount.
He does not abolish what the great patriarch taught but brings it to fulfillment, Jesus says.
He makes sublime promises of a Kingdom; our God is gracious and near. But this part of the Gospel reminds us of little things, “the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter,” the small steps, the “least commandments” we must keep to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Small things.
Lent—our reading reminds us—is not only for remembering great things but for remembering 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.” They are important commandments of God.
So let’s think great thoughts and embrace great visions of faith these days, but don’t forget those small things that are so big in God’s law. We have to keep them in mind. The greatest in the kingdom of God are the best at that.
What small step do you want me to take today, O Lord?
Let me be small enough, humble of heart and mind
that I can see another’s need, not my own.
What can I do to help the neighbor I meet,
my neighbor made in your image?