Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
I tell you, if your sense of right and wrong is not keener than that of the Lawyers and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
You have heard, that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit murder; anyone who murders 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 is liable, to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or sister “Fool!” is liable, of being 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 your brother, 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.
“Make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.”
Every society relies on laws to provide a minimal standard of order. Most people do not need a law to tell them not to commit murder. By the same to- ken, someone who is willing to murder another person is rarely restrained just by fear of breaking the law. The church has its own code of laws. But the essential teaching of the gospel is not written in any code or set of laws. If it is not inscribed in our hearts, then it makes no difference what the law says. Be merciful. Forgive one another. Love your enemies. The roots of violence and injustice are deeper than any law. They begin in our hearts, in our capacity for anger, hatred, and contempt to- ward others. It may begin with something as small as calling a brother or sister “Fool!”
By the same token the seeds of the kingdom are also in our hearts: when we forgive our brothers and sisters and those who frustrate us or do us harm. So serious is the call to be reconciled that it is a higher priority to make peace with our brother or sister than to go to Mass.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019