Thursday, June 12, 2014
"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment." - Matthew 5:21-22
Once more Jesus challenges his disciples. He states that both killing and anger are both liable to judgment. An initial response may be to reject Jesus' words. Some might wish to discredit or think it was some mistake. So why would Jesus make this claim? What is He saying? We must not forget that Jesus always invites his disciples to further reflection and more radical living. To be a disciple means to avoid settling for the easy path, limiting the call to holiness or rationalizing immoral behavior.
Our world today is full of countless stories where individuals walk down a path of hate and choose to release it by taking the life of another. Where does that hate come from? No one is born to hate. Quite the contrary we are born to love! Yet, as we mature we somehow learn to hate. Hate grows and if one was to search out the root of hate they would most likely find anger. Anger divides, insults, and slanders. Anger leads to lies through the tools of deception and manipulation. Anger destroys relationships, feeds hate and is outlet for ignorance. Above all it can lead to death!
Jesus knows that anger if left unchecked will lead to death. With this awareness we can teach others and ourselves to look for the red flags when anger begins to unmask its ugly face. We must not be ignorant of its potential but be ready to channel its power into passion for life.
By the way, when was the last time anger made you or your situation better? Honestly, anger will never make you or your situation better. No matter how much you may try to justify it, the only thing anger will do is create further division and unhappiness. Anger will weigh you down and rob you of your joy. There will no doubt be times when you get angry, but your response in words and deeds will be the true test of Christian discipleship.
Don't waste your precious days nor risk your salvation for this empty and deflating emotion! If you find yourself filled with so much anger or even hate I want you to know Jesus gave you a key to unlock it. It is the key of forgiveness. Forgiveness never approves the wrongdoing nor denies any pain. Forgiveness gives you the freedom to live again. Do not allow the weight of anger, resentment and hate to hold you back any longer. It will free you to experience life in a whole new way. It was no mere coincidence that Jesus encouraged his disciples time after time to forgive. For it is through forgiveness that you can experience God's grace, rediscover joy and find true fulfillment.
It is better to cry than to be angry, because anger hurts others, while tears flow silently through the soul and cleanses the heart. -Saint John Paul II
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” -Matthew 5:14-16
Right after Jesus teaches his disciples the beatitudes He immediately proclaims them the light of the world! I'm sure this proclamation brought about puzzled faces. It is a common response of Christians to remain hidden or disguised. There is desire to remain insignificant in false humility or to shy away from our Christian responsibility in fear. This is why Jesus affirms that a city set on a mountain cannot be hidden nor a lamp be placed under a basket. Jesus is saying we are significant. Jesus affirms we have purpose. He doesn't let any of us off the hook rather he reminds us we are meant to shine! We are called to make a difference in the world!
We are able to shine before others with the light of Christ given to us at our baptism. Like Jesus Himself, His light is meant to be shared. It is a light that must not be hidden nor disguised. As followers of Christ we are sent to bring the light of Christ to a world that often chooses darkness. This is no easy task, but Jesus asks us to shine in His name. In so doing we allow others to see our good deeds, not out of attention or reward, but so that they too may glorify the heavenly Father.
Go shine! Live with purpose! Make a difference! Allow others to see your good deeds so that they too may glorify the heavenly Father!