Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26 Just out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning of the word "righteousness". My dictionary app told me, "the quality of being morally right or justifiable." Jesus holds the scribes and Pharisees up as examples of what not to do. And yet, I can't help but feeling like I have more in common with them than I do with the Ideal Christian. And then I read the rest of the Gospel. "Whoever is angry with his brother" ... Check. "Whoever says to his brother, 'Raqa'" ... Check. "Whoever says 'You fool'" ... Check. (And maybe a double-check, because I've said far worse than that.) You guys, I'm a bundle of angry. I'm a "You fool"-yelling fool! I'm saying "Raqa" and much more. Is there hope? Ah, but yes. That's the key. Keep reading. "Go first and be reconciled with your brother." But, wait a minute more. Did you HEAR what he SAID? Do you KNOW what he DID? And how about the people who can say the same of me? To the niece who has been texting me these sorts of questions, I say one thing: grace of the sacraments. Confession. Eucharist. More confession. More Eucharist. God loves you. He's getting your attention. (He sure got mine.) Lest you think, as I did when I first read this Gospel, that there's no hope that you'll ever make it to heaven...well, you won't, not on your own. You need God. Or, said better, y'all need Jesus. Let's remember that today, especially at the point when we're going to Raqa and "You fool." You with me?


When can you make it to Mass this week? Make a special effort to spend extra time with Jesus in this sacrament.


Oh God, You know how to get me right here. And You know how frustrated and angry and hurt I am deep inside. Touch me and heal me and hold me close.
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