34th General Audience, August 6, 1980
Whoever looks at a woman to desire her [lustfully] has already committed adultery in his heart (Mt. 5:20).
Because of the hardness of your heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so (Mt. 19:8).
“hardness of the heart” Greek, sklerokardia; Hebrew, “uncricumcision of heart” -- “paganism or shamelessness and distance from the covenant of God.” Associated with paganism because of this opposition to the Holy Spirit.
Old Testament ethos gave rise to a practise contrary to the original plan. The deformation of the law in Genesis is when Moses made the allowance.
Sermon on the Mount: proclamation of the new ethos -- Gospel.
The image of man of concupiscence that Christ brings out in St. Matthew concerns the innermost being. Out of the heart that we have evil intentions, and these evil intentions make the person unclean (Mt. 15:19-20)
After original sin the heart has been effected by 3-fold concupiscence: flesh, eyes, pride of life (1Jn. 2:16-17).
IT WAS SAID, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY” (Mt. 5:27)
35th General Audience, August 13, 1980
Adultery committed in the heart refers to lustful desire. Jesus has the 6th commandment of the Decalogue in mind. Jesus wants justice to super abound (Mt. 5:20), and wants justice to exceed more than what the Pharisees teach.
Jesus does not accept the Pharasaic interpretation because they are law-governed -- laws superimoposed on the people. Instead, Jesus sets out to transform the Old Testament ethos: Do you think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come t abolish but of fulfil (Mt. 5:17).
In the Old Testament we find a systematic deformation of monogamy. From the time of the patriarchs there was the desire for offspring; evident that the wives gave their slaves to their husbands to bear their offspring, Sarah and Abraham (Gn. 16:2), Rachel and Jacob (Gn. 30:3)
You shall not commit adultery, did not change these practises.
Kings of Israel such as David and Solomon, attests that effective polygamy established itself for reason of concupiscence.
Adultery was understood only as the possession of another’s wife, but not the possession of other women as wives beside the first one. Adultery is understood as the violation of man’s property rights regarding a woman as his legal wife.
Monogamy is not understood in the sense of the beginning, as legislated by the Creator.
In Jn.8:7 where the adulteress is accused and punishment of stoning is sought, Jesus identifies the adultery as sin, go out from here and do not sin again, but Jesus first appeals to conscience of those who accuse her, the first without sin cast the first stone.
36th General Audience, August 28, 1980
Old Testament laws are severe against polygamy but there was effective polygamy -- institution of concubines and cohabitation with slave women. The Law combating adultery contained the social structure of sin.
Sexual deviation of other forms besides adultery were clearly defined: Scriptures condemned homosexual activity, bestiality, and Onanism (Gn. 38:10).
Marriage placed procreation in the foreground.
The language on the whole reflects the theology of the body: shame of what pertains to sex. The judgment about the body and sex is more due do with social order rather than the condition of the heart. The basis of social order is marriage and the family.
But I say to you… Jesus is rebuilding on the consciousness of his audience, and distances himself from the official teachers of the Law.
There is another tradition of understand the OT law, that of the prophets. Reference to adultery was a reminder to Israel and Judah their greatest sin was abandoning the one true God n favour of the cult of various idols that had been adopted easily and thoughtlessly by the Chosen People in contact with pagan societies.
The analogy that is used helps to understand the commandment, You shall not commit adultery.
Especially in Isaiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel, the God -- Yahweh is the Bridegroom, and the love with which he joined himself to Israel is equated with the spousal love of a couple. Because if its idolatry and desertion of God, the Bridegroom, Israel commits a betrayal before him, an act of adultery.
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
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