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.
Whenever bad news is delivered or an unpleasant reality is brought to my attention, I do a quick mental survey to find all the ways that information doesn’t apply to me. Having cleared my conscience that I am not, in fact, the problem, I breathe a sigh of relief and can now approach the problem with genuine concern. One of the challenges with following Jesus is how he will not allow us to excuse ourselves from the challenges of being human. While I haven’t killed anybody, I certainly have noticed plenty of anger in my heart. So rather than letting me comfortably excuse myself, Jesus boxes me in and forces me to examine what goes on in my heart. Rather than letting me delude myself that I am not the problem, Jesus forces me to consider my own actual need for conversion.
In what ways does Jesus ask you to take an honest look at your heart? What kind of conversion is Jesus calling you to this Lent?
Lord, you search me and you know me. You know the desires of my heart. You know when I hold onto anger, resentment, jealousy, and more. Help me to open my heart to the love and mercy that you continue to show to me, so that I may be better equipped to share this love with others. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!