Faith Daily | 11 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 482
O Lord, who for our sake fasted forty days and forty nights:
give us grace to use such abstinence,
that, our flesh being subdued to the spirit,
we may ever obey your godly will
in righteousness and true holiness;
to your honour and glory,
who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 5: 20-26
20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 ‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” 22But 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. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister* has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,* and then come and offer your gift. 25Come 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. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Kathy Allen
These verses address the necessity of reconciliation, both for anger experienced within and displayed without. They are about making peace and taking the first step to do it. In recent days, as we approach the post-pandemic, reconciliation and peace must be achieved through a barrier of a type of individualism, even selfishness, that has become even more pronounced than before. These days people talk about ‘getting closure’, about ‘speaking their truth’, about ‘being solution focused’, about having ‘me time’. In some work places there are entire units dedicated to employee ‘well-being’. The word ‘mindfulness’ is over-used and abused. It is all about the ‘I’ and not about the ‘we’. How can we reconcile with anyone if we consistently put ourselves first?
I think that these verses are not so much about deeds but about how we think about what we do, how we perceive ourselves. Am I always in the right because I’m me? Yes, that is an exaggeration but just try to remember what you were thinking and who you were thinking about the last time that you were angry. The real question seems to be, can I do unto others as I would have them do unto me not once in a blue moon but every day. We are driven to anger when ‘our personal needs’ are not met or thwarted. It seems to me that these verses are telling us we have to move outside of ourselves, of our presumed wants and needs, and lay down our burden at the feet of Jesus. We must be willing to ask for help from Jesus and be willing to take that help, stepping outside ourselves. We have the opportunity to encounter Jesus and to listen and, hopefully, to act.
From the Prayer of St Francis
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.