Daily Reflection – 3/6/2020
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:20-26)
OK, let’s take a deep breath to give us time so that we can be truly honest with ourselves.
Jesus talks to us today about our emotions and the words and actions that flow from them.
How many times have you and I apologized for words or actions that hurt another? Most often, we apologized and perhaps even tried to excuse it away. Today, we are reminded that we have choices about our emotions. We can choose to focus on the emotions that we know are positive and make us feel good: love, hope, generosity and faith! Or we can choose to focus on the emotions that disturb us and upset us: anger, jealousy, etc.
Why is that so important? For a very simple reason. We are called to be loving and merciful, not bitter and uncompassionate. If we think about this, letting anger live inside us can certainly can lead to resentment and other harsh feelings towards someone.
Jesus teaches us this about anger so that we can not only learn to forgive and love as God loves us, but to also learn how to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. If we are truly to be the men and women that we are called to be, then we must learn how to give in to love, rather than anger.
After all, God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us grief or harm. In the cross of Jesus, we see the supreme example of love and the power for overcoming evil. Only God’s love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge.
Though we were sinners, God, in Jesus Christ, favored to become like us, except sin, to initiate reconciliation. No matter how much infidelity, greed, and pride we make, God never lost the courage to find and search us. He has found himself always wanting for us even amidst our unworthiness. Every day, He comes to us with open arms, nailed on the cross for our sake.
Having done this for us, our focus should and must be on what reconciliation breeds – it brings us back to the heart of God/
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, there are moments in my life that my heart is cold. Make it warm, compassionate, and forgiving towards all, even those who do me harm. May I only think and say what is pleasing to you and be of kind service to all I meet.”
Jesus gives us a tremendous view into God’s heart. God’s very essence is a unity of love – three persons, one nature. We are made in God’s image, and we are made to live forever in union with God. But so too are my brothers and sisters. If we have done anything to wound the union of love with those around us, then we must repair the breach. In fact, it is so important to God (and so important for us) that God will not accept our “offering” if we have consciously wounded the unity with those around us. Bring those particularly difficult relationships to prayer, and draw the strength from God to love as we should. He will not ask for some virtue and then refuse his grace.