June 9, 2016

Gospel MT 5:20-26
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 with him.
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.”
Reflection:
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.”
The scribes were the people who interpreted the religious laws. The Pharisees were those who committed their lives to living in strict accordance to the religious laws.
Yet, Jesus tells His disciples (and us) that their “righteousness” must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.
It seems like a tall order until we realize: Jesus is not talking about obeying the thousands of petty, “man-made” religious laws that control the lives of the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus is talking about righteousness, doing “what is right.”
As Jesus continues to teach His disciples, he doesn’t refer to the observance of laws.
Instead, He uses examples of how we treat our family, friends and others as to what defines our “righteousness.”
“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.”
Two thousand years have passed and one of the most popular modern sayings is, “Do the Next Right Thing.”
Jesus understands that I am a weak human being; it is not possible for me to always “do the next right thing.”
He goes on to tell me what I should do when I lose my temper and strike out at someone. Or, when out of insecurity and fear, I hurt those closest to me.
“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.”
Simply said, before I go to the altar to receive Christ, I should humble myself before those I have wronged and apologize, and only then go to reconcile myself with Christ.
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner.” – – Max Lucado