Reconcile and Forgive Easily
In the rather difficult first reading, Paul states that in the New Testament there is the freedom of the Spirit. We see God in the mirror of Christ.
In the gospel Christ tells us that our practice of love should go farther than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. All laws and the whole discipleship are based on love and creating a climate of love in which Christians do not only not kill in acts of violence, but, not even damage relationships in words and thoughts. Love at its deepest is shown in forgiveness without conditions, even if the one wrong is the other person! That’s not easy at all!
1 Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:15—4:1, 3-6
Brothers and sisters: To this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel, but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. And even though our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled for those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14
R. (see 10b) The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land. R.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. R.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps. R.
Alleluia: John 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: 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.”
Paul continues today with the “veil” imagery. Moses veiled his face so that the Israelites might not see the fading glory of the former covenant. Today, he speaks of another veil, the one that hides the glory of Christ. The unbelievers are thus incapable of seeing the light that shines in the darkness, the light that reveals the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
In failing to see the light, people remain unconvinced of Christ’s teaching. The Gospel today deals with the question of anger. Previously it had been taught, “You shall not kill,” but the Sermon on the Mount goes to the root of violent action, which is anger. There are escalating forms of anger, hateful terms of reference, all of which merit punishment.
Anger is simply counterproductive. Its fruit is pain and hurt for ourselves and for others. To harbour hostility toward another makes us unworthy to come before the Lord in worship or cult. In knowing the person of Jesus, we move away from sin and strive to remain in the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of him who taught this message even from the cross.
Remember always these words of Jesus today, to insist that we should be reconcilers: “When you are offering your gifts 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.” May almighty God give you this Christian sense and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!