Friday, March 10, 2017
1st Week of Lent
Reading: Ez. 18:21-28Gospel: Mt 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, then, that if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell you: whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought before the council; whoever calls a brother or a sister ‘Fool’ deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God.
“Don’t forget this: be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A story is told of a child who failed to get even with his little sister. It was because his mother timely intervened and forced him to recite this prayer before going to bed: “Lord, let this anger go away as I rest, so that when I die tonight I go to heaven in my best.” The mother smiled in blissful satisfaction. But before he slipped into his blankets for the night’s rest, he mumbled the following: “But Lord, if I should wake up alive tomorrow, you’d better hide my sister somewhere you know, for I will surely beat her black and blue.”
To be reconciled with others because we are afraid to die with hatred in our hearts is righteous enough. But Jesus invites us to broaden our righteousness. Then he cited several areas where righteousness can be broadened. Let us focus on reconciliation since we are in the Lenten Season.
Avoiding conflicts is righteous enough but greater than this is the avoidance of uttering uncharitable words on anyone. Still this kind of thing remains at the level of avoidance. Religion cannot prosper the spirituality of adherents by mere avoidance of evil because Christianity is a positive religion; it thrives on the unbounded and unlimited exercise of love.
If your righteousness has gone deep enough to embolden you to seek reconciliation and shed blood if it should come to that extent, you can sleep soundly each night without fear of dying with hatred in your heart. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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