Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus’s words in this Gospel are harsh and He is not mincing words. He warns us not to come to the altar if we are at odds with our brother. He uses the word “brother” broadly, meaning that, in the eyes of God, everyone is our brother since we all are His children. Furthermore, we’ll be punished if we call our brother a fool or use the word Raqa toward him. Raqa is a derogatory term that means “empty-headed,” suggesting that the person is stupid or inferior.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve slipped and called someone a fool or insinuated that they were stupid. I’ve worked hard to temper that by training myself to say that the action or option is stupid or foolish rather than the person. In the end, I’m still insulting their intelligence, and Jesus distinctly warns against that, even suggesting that the result may be a hearing before the Church or even Gehenna, or hell. Yikes!
I’ve met a good share of people who justify using these words because the subject of their judgment “deserves it” or that they’re simply “stating the obvious.” I’ve probably done that myself without realizing it. The truth is, when I insult another human being, I’m insulting God since God is the creator of all and Jesus lives within our souls. It’s not for me to judge the rationale, motivation, or personality of others. God knows what is in their minds and hearts, and I should leave it at that.
Do you have the tendency to use the words stupid or foolish about others? Is this a shortcoming you must work on?
Jesus, Your words were firm and direct. Inscribe them into my heart so that I may never offend You again.
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Some people justify using these words because the subject of their judgment “deserves it” or that they’re simply “stating the obvious.” I’ve probably done that myself without realizing it. #dailygospel
Copyright 2022 Marge Steinhage Fenelon
About the Author
Marge Steinhage Fenelon is a wife, mother, award-winning author and journalist, retreat leader, internationally-know speaker, podcaster, and Catholic media personality. She's author of the best-selling Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena, award-winning My Queen, My Mother: A Marian Pilgrimage Across America, Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace and other books on Marian devotion and Catholic spirituality. Learn more at MargeFenelon.com.