Today’s gospel continues through the Sermon on the Mount. It is followed by the commentary from the Bishops’ website.
Gospel Matthew 5:20-26
Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court
Jesus said to his disciples: if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’
The Gospel of the Lord
Gospel Reflection Thursday, Tenth Week in Ordinary Time Matthew 5:20-26
In this morning’s gospel reading, Jesus calls for a virtue that goes deeper than the virtue of the scribes and the Pharisees. He is looking for a virtue that is at the level of the heart or inner core of the person and not simply at the level of action. The Ten Commandments relate to actions which are to be done or, for the most part, not to be done. Jesus quotes one of the commandments at the beginning of our gospel reading, ‘You shall not kill’. What Jesus goes on to prohibit is not just the action of killing but the kinds of attitudes and emotions that can led people to kill one another. He warns against anger towards others and the perception of others that leads us to refer to them as fools. We might be tempted to think of the commandment, ‘Do not kill’, as not really relevant to us because the likelihood of any of us killing somebody is very remote. However, when Jesus speaks about the deeper level of emotion, attitude and perception, we cannot distance ourselves so easily. We have all experienced anger and can recognize its destructive power in ourselves. We have all perceived some people in ways that lead us to speak of them or to them in a manner that is disrespectful. Even though we may differ from others at the level of action, when it comes to this deeper level we all have much more in common. That virtue at the deeper level that drives our actions is one we are all constantly striving to attain. It can only be attained with the help of the Holy Spirit, whose power at work within us can begin to shape all we do and how and why we do it.
The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie