Daily Reflection – 6/13/19
Jesus said to his disciples: “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.” (Matthew 5:20-26)
Sin leaves us empty, broken, wasted; feeling abused and used and utterly worthless. “Turn back to me”, says the Lord. He invites us to turn back and reconcile with our brother and sister before doing anything else. You cannot move forward if broken; otherwise the pain will only get worse.
What does it mean to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees? It means to recognize our own sins! The righteous will always be good at pointing fingers at others but never at themselves. If the Lord is to create a new heart, a new spirit in us, then we will have to get rid of the old to make room for the new.
The Lord invites us to come to Him with open arms, bent knees and broken hearts. The Lord invites us to come to him as our Savior rather than as our Judge. Better to go to the Lord as our Savior and King than as our Judge and Ruler.
The Lord invites us to forgive and be forgiven; to love and be loved. He calls us from afar, from within, from above. We can heed the call or else, prepare for a long drawn out battle with the devil of intrigue, suspicion, jealousies and falsehoods. We will not win!
Whatever happened to the Pharisees? Why did they turn so nasty? How did they get to that place in their lives where they could no longer love or recognize goodness and purity? How did they get so cynical, judgmental and vicious? Believe me when I tell you: all these things are near to us! All these things that I hate in others are near to me!
The Lord highlighted, in every word and gesture, what was wrong with the World.
Jesus is reminding us that yes, we can follow the Law and be good people. However, he is calling us to go beyond the letter of the Law and acknowledge that we have a greater responsibility than just what the Law calls for. We are called into communion with each other and in doing so, with God. When we can see the face of God in others, then we know that we are close to being who Jesus challenges us to be because our hearts are changed. He is calling us to a new beginning. It isn’t an easy road and if we struggle today, then we always have tomorrow to try again.
Prayer of The Day
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. We thank you for the opportunity to go out and love others as you love us. Lord, help us to never let go of you, and to always follow your ways. Help us be slow to anger and quick to love. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.
If we come to worship God and there are feelings of anger, revenge or hatred in our hearts, then our worship remains incomplete. It is only an external worship and not true worship. God does not need our adoration, but if want to adore him it must also come from within. It can’t come from within if we harbor anger, malice, bitterness or negative judgements about others. That is false worship and certainly not adoration.