A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. – Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626: was an English philosopher, statesman and author)
Gospel Text: (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.
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.”
Even things that seem ‘little’ can take us away from God and his mercy. Sure, we can say, “Oh, I’ve never killed anyone or done anything horrible like that. I’m fine.” But have we ever ‘wished someone ill-will’? Jesus says that anger toward our brother takes us away from God as well. Anger and name-calling separates us from our family and from God. In condemning others, we are in effect condemning ourselves.
Lent is about giving up more than candy. It’s about giving up our negative attitudes and whatever keeps us from God. It’s about reconciliation. By reconciling with others, we take the first step to reconciling with God and the Church.