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.
One morning I read an article, from our local newspaper, that surfaced many different emotions in the readers. A number of people expressed strong feelings after reading the article. I was very surprised to read the many insensitive comments. I couldn’t help but wonder why it is so easy for people to write hurtful words. Why are we so quick to react out of anger without reflecting and finding empathy in others? Is it easier to react angrily to strangers because we fail to see God in them?
Before I post a comment, I will think about St. Ignatius’s words: “Do nothing and write nothing that may be the occasion of any bitterness or harsh words.” It is not okay just because we are strangers in our world to be hurtful through our words, thereby forgetting about God in one another. “Whoever is angry with his brother (or sister) will be liable to judgment.”
—Cecilia Hernandez works in the Vocations Office for the Midwest Jesuits.
Heavenly Father, you call us to go first and be reconciled with our brother, and then come and offer our gift. May we remember to see you in others so that, when we come to you, we are prepared to sit at your side.