March 10, 2017 – Friday of the First Week of Lent
Go first and be reconciled to your brother or sister!
Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)
A Reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.
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.”
Reflect: Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. The righteousness Jesus speaks of is a heart full of love; a heart that forgives, not condemns; a heart that builds-up, not destroys. Jesus wants us to have a heart like his. Judgement of the other can often be our default response to people around us. Perhaps we have no idea about what’s going on in someone’s life, yet we expect that they conform to what we determine to be the rules. Saint John of the Cross spoke that as we go before God we will be judged on love. It won’t be by the size of donations we made, the number of Masses we attended, the accolades and titles we achieved; but only by how much we loved. The scribes and the Pharisees were driven by conformity to the law without considering the heart behind the action. Is our righteousness surpassing that of the scribes and Pharisees?
Questions: Do I love so as to enter the Kingdom of heaven? Do I try to meditate and reflect on the heart, the compassion, the mercy of Jesus – so that I can learn from him and conform my heart to his?
Pray: Loving God, help me to learn to love like you. Have mercy on me for my lack of forgiveness, understanding, compassion and mercy shown to others. Give me a heart like yours. I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)
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