Be Free!

March 10, 2017
Friday of the First Week of Lent
The Gospel Today
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. Ramon Jamora, Junior)

No pain, no gain! This has been the motto for those who build up their body. The process of body building requires a person to lift weights regularly to grow muscles. The more time spent in lifting or carrying, the more muscles will be gained.

This process is also true with our anger. The more we indulge our thoughts with bad encounters the more we will harbor anger or bitterness. The weight is the bad encounter. The lifting or carrying is the constant thinking. And the muscle that we will grow is a bitter heart.

For us to grow in our spiritual life, we must carry or lift up the Cross of Jesus. To carry the Cross of Jesus is to be understanding, forgiving, trusting, caring, and loving. The weight is the Cross which symbolizes Jesus’ love for us. The more we carry out to understand, forgive, trust, and care the more we become loving. It is only then that we are able to grow a heart like Jesus.

The simplest thing to do if we want to stop anger and bitterness from growing in us is to let go. Letting go of the bad encounter makes reconciliation possible. It may sound simple but the process of letting go is quite challenging. When we have a bad encounter with someone the relationship seems to have a gap. The usual treatment suddenly changes. There seems to be a high wall between those who are involved.

The only way to restore a broken relationship from a bad encounter is simply to talk it over, listen, trust again, and reconcile. This simple way of restoring our relationship makes us free from bitterness and anger. The moment we reconcile is also the moment when we are free from the burden of our bitterness and anger.

Today’s reflection seems appropriate for us to prepare ourselves as we observe the lenten season. May our remembrance of Jesus’ suffering inspire us to die from our pride and be free from bitterness and anger.

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