Inwardness of the commandments

Daily Reading for February 13 • The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Those who care little for their souls do not look sufficiently into their hearts. They do not consider it a sin to get angry with their neighbors without cause and do not think it a sin to lust after a woman who belongs to another provided they do not follow up their lust. But it is a great sin among those who fear God and hold their hearts in high regard. And it is a great sin before God, who looks not only at one’s actions but also at one’s heart. With the inwardness of this commandment the law is not abolished but fulfilled, and without it the Lord’s commandment would be untenable.

Every act of adultery arises from lust. Therefore how can adultery be restrained under the commandment of the law, unless the force of lust has been nipped in the bud under Christ’s commandment? For just as anger is the mother of murder, lust is the mother of adultery. Consequently one who gets angry at this brother without cause kills him in his heart, even though he does not actually kill him. It is still murder in the sight of God, who does not regard the action more than the disposition.

From the anonymous “Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 12,” quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament Ia, Matthew 1-13, edited by Manlio Simonetti and Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001).

Past Posts