Gospel Reading: Mt 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 with him. 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.”
Go first and be reconciled. Jesus speaks of the necessity of reconcilition with one another and with the community.
We all come from God. We belong to God. It is God’s desire that human life be promoted and human dignity be safeguarded.
God commands, “You shall not kill.” But it is not enough to avoid causing the death of another person. We must refrain from being angry and hurting or insulting people. These negative emotions can kill people “softly” and separate them from others and from God.
Jesus says that reconciliation is so urgent that it has precedence even to sacrificial offering to God. To reconcile with our brothers and sisters is to reconcile with God who is more pleased with our repentance and reconciliation with one another than with our burnt offering. If we forgive and ask for forgiveness, if we purify our hearts of anger, contempt, and insult towards others, we become more worthy to come before the Lord.
Have you ever followed literally the Gospel injunction of leaving your gift at the altar, going first and being reconciled with your brother, and then coming back to offer your gift?
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2012,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph