2CORINTHIANS 3:15-4:1, 3-6; PSALM 85; MATTHEW 5:20-26
In the first reading, St Paul demands that we remove the veil over our minds which prevent us from seeing the light shed by the Good News. On the other hand, in the Gospel reading, Christ says that if our righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees we shall not enter the kingdom of God. The minds of the Scribes and Pharisees were veiled with so much bias and so they misunderstood the mission of Jesus Christ. Are we equally veiled? What are the things that hinder our perception? Beloved, we are challenged to go beyond Pharisaic living into true Christian life. We must lay aside all prejudice, anger and resentment.
LET US PRAY
Lord, we pray that you remove our guilt and wipe away our sins so that we can draw closer to you. We praise you for the grace of forgiveness we have received. We resolve to do better and exceed the average. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Amen!
Fr. Evaristus Okeke
Conformity of the Heart
For us to be able to live out the commandments of God, we must understand the acts of love they point towards. It is this understanding that will enable us know all other “neigbhouring actions” that is forbidden by each commandment. One unique feature of the gospel of Matthew is that it presents Jesus as a teacher per excellence; and so, since Monday, Jesus has been teaching us how best to live out God’s commandments.
Holiness in not a matter of action but a matter of attitude. We are not holy because of what we do but based on how we feel towards one another. Someone who is angry with the brother but has not yet kill him (or does not even plan to do so), has already stopped loving the brother. Such a person will not be motivated to do much good for the brother. This was the level of the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees. Hence, we realize that sin is not just something wrong we do to another but also something good we failed to do for another.
God is love. Whatever is not love, cannot stand before Him. Thanksgiving is supposed to be an expression of love. When you join someone to give God thanks, you are saying that you love that person. To come forward for thanksgiving with a heart that lacks love is a contradiction. And so, at the commencement of the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist when the priest says: “pray brethren that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father”, he is inviting us to make peace with one another so that we can lovingly offer to God our Eucharistic offering. Little wonder before coming forward to receive Holy Communion, we are required to offer each other the sign of Peace. We cannot commune with God, when we refuse to commune with ourselves.
It is through us that the words of the psalmist will be fulfilled: “the glory of the Lord will dwell in our land”. God Bless You!