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
This week we have begun to pray through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, as recorded by Matthew. Jesus’ words today embody a quite personal challenge. Anger that festers truly corrupts one’s heart. So Jesus’ admonition to reconcile differences with another person is enormously life-giving on all sides. Jesus tells us quite firmly that this personal imperative must take place even before bringing your gift to the altar.
It is salutary to ponder this gospel passage on today’s feast of St. Anthony of Padua. We often ask this holy Franciscan to help us find lost objects. What more important object to find than a lost relationship with another, especially someone close to us.
As St. Anthony wrote: Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, if we find resentment or anger dragging down our spirit, grant us a reprieve from such negativity that sucks out the joy of life. Increase our trust that by staying in prayer with you we will wrestle through our hurt and in time move toward forgiveness.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!