Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Not long ago in this chapter of Matthew, Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount where He gave us the Beatitudes. There, He took things up a generous notch by focusing on what we are called to do as His followers instead of just what we are called not to do in the Ten Commandments. This Sermon doesn’t undo or ignore the Law of Moses. Instead, it expands and explains how to live that Law fully, as God intends. In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues to challenge us not to live only by the letter of the Law but also by the spirit in which it was given. For Him, it is not just the absence of physical violence that shows we are upholding the fifth commandment. To be truly in union with God and His Will means that His peace lives within us and among us. That peace is what allows us to forgive others. And it is that peace that joins us to God in an intimate and eternal relationship.
I don’t know about you, but these challenging Gospel passages make me wince. They have a distinct fire-and-brimstone feel that makes me very uncomfortable. Surely Jesus isn’t saying that we can’t even get angry?
But, if you look closely, Jesus isn’t saying that we can’t feel anger. He’s saying we shouldn’t act on it. And He goes on to say that we should reconcile with anyone who “has anything against” us. Did you catch that? There it is! That’s the Jesus I know and love. He knows us and He knows we will fall, so He tells us what to do when (not if) we lose control of our anger. In Jesus, there’s always a place for reconciliation. The door to His love is never shut unless we shut it.
When have you fallen short of God’s expectations of you? How can you remember God’s offer of reconciliation in those times?
Jesus, thank You for challenging me to be more like You in all things. Help me to control my anger and to seek reconciliation when my anger controls me. Thank you for giving me a way back to Your love even when I fall. Amen.
Copyright 2021 Laura Nelson
About the Author
Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic author, speaker, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist, and full-time Coordinator of Children's Faith Formation. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, Texas. Find out more about Laura at LauraBNelson.com.