‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. Reflection by Janet Derby Jesus seems to really be raising the bar here. Not only should I not go after someone who has made me angry, but I should not be angry at all, and I should reconcile with those with whom I have issues. Following the letter of the law is insufficient; we should adhere to the spirit of the law as well. Whew. Those are standards that are tough to live up to. Yet, before we turn a deaf ear to Jesus, perhaps we can comprehend the meaning he is trying to convey. I think Jesus is attempting to help us understand that relationships are important. We are called, not just to do what is least expected, but to go above and beyond. We are called to love as God loves us. Prayer:
God of Reconciliation and Grace, We so often fall short in our relationships. Help us, we pray, to reach out to each other in love and forgiveness. Amen.