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.
Today’s Gospel dwells in me with a theme of forgiveness. The passages we have been reading from Matthew have been drilling us with the idea of community, of being one with each other. After reading today’s passage specifically, I think about how we perceive and love one another. Instead of having anger or grudges towards those around us, we must seek peace, forgiveness and understanding. It is then that harmony may prevail.
I think about conflicts in our world today and how resolutions could be obtained without conflict. This is the call of today’s Gospel. In our own personal lives and in society, we must become voices of peace and reconciliation. Matthew writes, “be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Reconcile, so that we may put energy in our gifts that may bring all of God’s children closer to the Kingdom of heaven.
—Mark Ehrbar is Co-Director of Music at Gesu Church, University Heights, OH.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.
—St. Francis of AssisiPlease share the Good Word with your friends!