June 12, 2008
Thursday of the tenth week in ordinary time
Matthew 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."
Introductory Prayer: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Let your words, Lord, be always in my heart and on my lips. May they become the thermometer of my daily love for my neighbor! Father, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Petition: Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto yours.
1. Be at Peace with Everybody “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar.…” Our Lord sets down an essential condition, an indispensable condition, to come to him: peace with our neighbor. How many families suffer because two loved ones have stopped speaking to each other? Neither one has the strength to give in, to reach out, and to shake the other’s hand. Stubbornness, a fruit of pride, robs the soul of true peace. Is there somebody in my own life to whom I need to give an apology? Is there somebody I still have not forgiven?
2. No Room for Rancor or Spite On the missions, after giving the last rights to a seventeen-year-old, I stayed with the family and prayed with them while the venom of a snake gradually snatched this young man’s life away. Rancor is also a poison that flows to the heart; it places our spiritual health in danger. There should be no spite whatsoever within our being; there should be no holding on to old resentments that fill us with uncharitable bitterness.
3. Prudent Silence When we pray for our families, we need to let go of any anger and allow ourselves to be overcome by Christ-like kindness. When we are driving down the highway, or watching our child being fouled or losing a game, we should never offend others with abusive words. We need always to be mindful, for we have not reached spiritual maturity. May prudence help us to keep silent, to close our mouths if the bitterness of anger or toxic gossip hides behind our lips.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for your new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Every day is a stadium in which we can all become champions in charity, above all through kindness in our words.
Resolution: I will reach out to someone I have offended; I will become a bridge builder.
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