March 14, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Friday of the First Week in Lent

Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Reflection (Sem. Jorge Santiago, Jr.):

            The Gospel today speaks of the two of the most important teachings of Jesus during His ministry; reconciliation and forgiveness. He mentioned that it is not in killing that we sin but we also sin when we are angry with our brothers or even saying bad words against them. Anger can lead us to sin by means of its effects. It can bring us away from Christ and eventually to hell.

            As human beings, we all have experienced being angry. Even Jesus Himself experienced it when He saw the money changers in the temple and flip their tables over and asked them not to make His Father’s temple a place of business. But what is the difference between our own experiences of anger with the experience of Jesus? He did not commit sin. Even if He was mad towards them, He still loved them. He was still concerned with them asking them to respect the temple for their own good.

            How many times in the past that we experienced anger? Can you remember any recent experience of being angry? Can you still remember the feeling of being angry? What if Jesus will ask you to withdraw this anger and He will heal your wound? Will you trust Him? That is exactly the invitation of our Gospel for today; to let go of the feeling of anger and let Jesus heal our wounds. He is asking us to forgive those who have wronged us, to reconcile to those we have hurt, and to settle whatever is needed to be settled. But of course, it is easier to say than done. Yes, it is difficult to forgive especially when the experience of hurt is too deep that it could only be healed through a miracle. Then this is the time to really pray hard for it. Let Jesus take charge of the wound and let Him heal our pain. Let Him do His work, that is if we truly trust Him, there will be no wounds that cannot be healed. Amen.

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