I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serves toward the peace of our divided Mexico. --Saint Cristobal just before his executioners fired
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."
In our own lives, how many times have we let our temper and anger get the better of us? How many times have we gotten into arguments where our ears were closed to all reason, though the other side may have had valid points? How often have we insisted on having the last word in an argument or disagreement because of our pride and stubbornness?
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us to always take the higher ground. He teaches us to listen and to look the other with eyes of love and understanding. No argument is really won if it does not end in a reconciliation.
And so, if up to now you still harbor ill feelings towards someone, go and make the first move to make peace with him/her. We hope that we are willing to say "sorry" even if the other side has refused to apologize. Indeed life is not about proving we are always right.
Oftentimes we need to reach out and dialogue, even if it means we swallow our pride. Only when we let love and humility prevail will we arrive at lasting peace and reconciliation.
Be ready to throw out pride and grudges out of the window if we wish to be true disciples of Christ. We will find out that this is truly liberating.