Friends, our Gospel for today is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has symbolically established himself as the new Moses, giving a law upon a mountain. His “you have heard it said, but I say…” has revealed that he has authority even over the Torah.
To be clear, the law is not being abrogated here; it is being intensified. The law was always meant to bring humanity into line with divinity. In the beginning, this alignment was at a fairly basic level. But now that the definitive Moses has appeared, the alignment is becoming absolute, radical, complete.
And so Jesus teaches, “You have heard it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Killing is an action, but that action is rooted in a more fundamental dysfunction: a hateful attitude, a disordered soul, a basic misperception of reality. To be like God utterly, we have to eliminate, obviously, cruel and hateful actions, but we have to go deeper, eliminating cruel and hateful thoughts and attitudes, for God is love, right through.