June 14, 2018 Thursday
1st Reading: 1 Kgs 18:41-46Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to the crowds, “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…
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Jesus begins a series of discourses on proper Christian conduct. He justifies each with legal basis from existing precepts (“you have heard it said”) and with his own teaching (“but now I tell you”). As regards murder, he cites a provision from Exodus as basis: “Do not commit murder (see Exodus 20:13); anyone who does kill will have to face trial (see Exodus 21:12)”. He then adds his own teaching saying, “Whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial…”
Jesus wants to prohibit even expressions of anger because most killings start therefrom. He even prohibits the calling of another person a “fool” because most murders are triggered by similar insults. The Aramaic word used in the original is “reqa” which means “imbecile”. Clinically this term refers to a form of mental retardation where a person’s mental age stagnates at seven. In common parlance this is “stupid” – a term used to verbally abuse a person. The bottom line is that a disciple must address sin from its roots.
The punishment is in ascending order. The first is judgment by a local council (“Whoever insults a brother deserves to be brought before the council”), the second is trial before the Sanhedrin –the highest judicial body in Judaism (“be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court…”), the third is condemnation to Hell (whoever calls a brother or a sister “Fool” deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell). That’s how serious Jesus is about his demand for deeper spirituality. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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