Homily (Reflection) for Friday of the First Week of Lent (23rd February, 2018) on the Gospel
Ps 129 (R. v. 3);
Topic: Achieving heaven.
In today’s gospel Jesus is telling us in sum that much more is expected of anybody who wants to make heaven. The very first verse reads, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20).
The rule for the ancients, “You shall not murder”. Above this, anyone who wants to make heaven is also forbidden from being angry with his/her brothers and sisters, insulting them, and calling them fools.
Christ came and destroyed the walls dividing one from another. Hence, Saint Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). But unfortunately, many Christians have replaced the walls Christ pulled down with ones much taller, wider, and stronger. Even the bridges He built have also been blown off.
We are today in the sea of enmity with one another. And for many, no retreat no surrender. Yet this is so serious that Jesus goes on to say,
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift (Matt 5:23-24).
The book of Proverbs also reads, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD” (Prov 15:8; cf. Prov 21:27; 3:32).
Following Christ is for gain much better than the whole world, cf. 1Cor 2:9. Hence Saint Paul correctly wrote, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1Cor 15:19). Let us therefore take necessary steps towards actualizing the main reward of following Christ. Make peace with everybody. We all are one in Christ Jesus, cf. 1Cor 12:12; Rom 12:5. Jesus paid supreme price just for us to make heaven.
Bible Reading: Gal 5:16-26.
Thought for today: Come to terms with others before it is too late, cf. Matt 5:25-26.
Let us pray: Lord, help us realise that we are one in Christ Jesus – Amen.
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