Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time, June 13
Through the Grace and Help of the Holy Spirit, May We Embrace the Virtue of Humility to Overcome Malice with Goodness, Hatred with Kindness, and Injury with Pardon.
In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus saying to His disciples and the crowds who were following Him, “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.”
How many times do we find ourselves attending Mass or any form of religious services, either on a weekday or Sunday, feeling out of sorts, due to some issue at home or at work which tends to eat away at our interior peace? We find ourselves feeling mad or angry, maybe even feeling hurt, empty or lonely inside.
And these feelings tend to drain us, and we come to worship God looking for solace and strength, or we end up praying for some sense of inner peace in the midst of our negative passions which have gotten the better of us. Ultimately, we find our lack of peace affecting our charity and inner joy, all because we cannot seem to let go of what is “eating away” at us.
No matter who we are, student or working professional, married or single, clergy or laity, there are those instances in life which can affect us negatively and give us anxiety and distress.
And yet, in spite of all our faults, our Lord understands our strengths and our weaknesses, our successes and our personal failings. And He teaches us in today’s Gospel the importance of setting aside our anger and our grievances, our pride and our sense of self-importance, for unless, as Jesus says, our “righteousness”, in other words our holiness, “surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, [we] will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.”
Our Catechism teaches us that anger is an emotion which is not wrong in itself, for there is such a thing as justifiable anger. But when anger becomes uncontrollable, it can harden one’s heart to the point where resentment and hate begin to control our emotions, and then anger has escalated into becoming one of the seven capital sins.
And Christ teaches us today that anger, in such a state, is an offense against the fifth Commandment, as we read in today’s Gospel – “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…”
Jesus is challenging us today to look at what it means to love. For if we claim to love God but cannot love our neighbor, due to some inner emotion of anger, disgust or, heaven forbid – hatred, how can we truly come to the Altar of Worship and Sacrifice and present ourselves to our Heavenly Father?
Such an act of worship would be absent of any real integrity, absent of any real value, and we would be committing a sacrilege against God’s Love in receiving the Eucharistic Presence of the Risen Christ if we harbored such feelings.
Jesus is challenging us to look inside our own hearts and to recognize our own weaknesses first. He is asking us to let go of our pride and our sense of ego and self-importance, and to take upon ourselves the nature of His humility, His meekness, His selfless Love.
When we can do this, in imitation of our Lord, we then look at the act of reconciliation with our brothers and sisters, with our neighbors as an act of love and an act of healing.
This love and healing can then fill our hearts with the peace for which each of us truly yearns, and our act of worship then becomes clothed with true value before God’s altar. For the love and peace within our hearts becomes as incense which rises up to the Throne of Almighty God.
It was G.K. Chesterton, an English writer, poet and philosopher who became engaged in Christian apologetics in defending the Christian faith in the early 20th century, who once wrote, “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.”
And when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, are we not asking our Heavenly Father to show us the same mercy which we show others? For it is written in the Scriptures, “If you, LORD, mark our sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness…”
For us to be able to show Christian love, mercy and forgiveness to others, just as our Lord showed us from His Cross on Calvary, requires that we be open to God’s Love and grace. It is through our openness to the virtue of humility, whereby God can then set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge.
It is through our willingness to let go of all that can enslave us, whereby God can grant us that interior peace here on Earth as it is in Heaven, a peace which only He can give.
Such a gift does require, on our part, not only humility but also a readiness – a willingness – to be open to God’s Word in our life. For it is His Word which not only guides us, it is His Word which gives us life and preserves us.
And, as a Christian people, the veil of God’s Word is removed and penetrates our hearts and souls through the indwelling of God’s Spirit within us, for it is the Spirit, as Paul tells us in our First Reading, who brings “to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.”
It is the Holy Spirit who guides us in overcoming malice with goodness, hatred with kindness, and injury with pardon.
For as Saint Francis once wrote in his famous prayer, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that that we are born to eternal life.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
- “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.” (Matthew 5:21-22a)
- “Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
- “The quick-tempered make fools of themselves…” (Proverbs 14:17a)
- “Be swift to hear, but slow to answer. If you can, answer your neighbor; if not, place your hand over your mouth! Honor and dishonor through speaking! The tongue can be your downfall.” (Sirach 5:11-13)
- “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21)
- “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.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
- “If you, LORD, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness…” (Psalm 130:3-4a)
- “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
- “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.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
- “For I, the LORD, am your God. You shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44ab)
- “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.Saint Francis of Assisi
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”