It is God’s love that leads us to the kingdom of heaven.

During this month of February our Gospel readings help us to understand the essence of true discipleship and stewardship.

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Mt. 5:20

The scribes and the Pharisees lived according to the letter of the law, and they used this to elevate themselves above the other people.  But Jesus tells us that this is not the right attitude to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

The teaching of stewardship tells us that all that we are and all that we have comes from the source of God’s love. Out of this love and gratitude flows our obedience to his commandments. It is not an obligation or approval from others that reflects our righteousness. Rather, it is God’s love that purifies our hearts and allows the wonderful virtues of humility, thankfulness, purity, forgiveness, faith, hope, and love to serve as our guides to lead us to the kingdom of heaven.

In the words of my favorite saint, St. Catherine of Siena:

“Love is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with its Creator: it binds God with man and man with God.”

Karen Bartos