Lord, guide my anger so I do not let resentment or bitterness consume me. Save me from seeing the other as the villain or myself as the victim. Turn my anger into a positive force. If I am stuck, bring friends into my life who can help me see a better path. Give me the patience to work through my feelings and the wisdom to know what I can and cannot control.
–The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!
Today’s Gospel continues the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus challenges His disciples of His time and ours to not be angry. He says that the consequences of having an angry thought are the same as the deed of murder-judgment and Gehenna or hell. Can we take Jesus’ teaching here literally? Didn’t Jesus Himself experience anger when He threw the money changers and merchants out of the Temple? What are we to make of this?
Anger itself is not a sin. Jesus got angry and He is the sinless Son of God. In fact, anger is the appropriate response to an injustice or wrong. We ought to get angry at certain things in the world. As we strive to have a Heart like the Sacred Heart, we should share the anger that Jesus experiences as He looks out at the world and sees humanity continuing its sinful ways. Jesus is angry at how sin hurts us.
While anger itself is not a sin, what we do with this feeling is critical. If we allow the angry feeling to smolder and turn into bitterness or rage, then we are nurturing sin. The sinful thought that we have allowed to take root will lead to sinful actions, like calling people insulting names and treating them as somehow less than human, as lacking human dignity, as not precious to the One who gave His life for them and for us.
The feeling of anger is a signal to us to pray: to turn to Jesus and ask that we might hate sin as He does but love the sinner-whoever is responsible for the hurt or injustice or wrong that we experience.
—Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you,leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/ ).
Please share the Good Word with your friends!