“The church is the great family of children of God. Certainly it has human aspects from the members who comprise it, pastors and faithful. They have defects, imperfections, sins. Even the pope has them — and he has many — but what is beautiful is that when we become aware that we are sinners, we find the mercy of God. God always forgives. Don’t forget this. God always forgives.”—Pope Francis beginning a series of meditations on the church May 29
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 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.”
Why are those we are biologically the closest too sometimes the hardest to love? Why are we unwilling to forgive those who are closest to us? Sigmund Freud and others have wrestled with the problem and I will not attempt to add anything to their views but rather remind all that charity truly does begin at home and with our family. So, forgive and forget the petty sleights and even the not so petty sleights we have all suffered. (And, hopefully the family members we have offended will forgive us for the petty and not so petty sleights we have inflicted on them.)
As you pause during your hectic day for your daily examination of conscience please take the time to remind yourself what Jesus said in St. Matthew’s gospel today, “that whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment,” “whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna,” and “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.”
Don’t let your family be a divided family; forgive and reconcile. I can’t think of a better way to start the summer.