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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE CALL TO HOLINESS
(Part 18)

RECONCILIATION AND HOLINESS


February 23, 2018
Today’s gospel: Matthew 5:20-26


The Pharisees were very meticulous in their observance of the law. But they were legalistic and hypocritical, sticking to the letter but not the spirit of the law. We cannot be that way. Jesus says to us, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (v.20).

Jesus pushes the boundaries of the law. The law says, “You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.” (v.21b). Jesus says, “whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” (v.22a). Does this mean we can never get angry at a wrong done by a brother? Yes we can. But we are not to resort to judgmental name-calling (see v.22b). And we are to take responsibility for trying to be reconciled.

We are all part of God’s family; we are brethren in Christ; we are instruments of the Spirit in the needed work of the Kingdom. Thus we must strive to be united in mind and heart. Though there will be instances when we hurt each other or are disappointed with each other, we must not allow this to break our bonds. Thus we must reconcile.

This is so important to Jesus that he ties it in with our worship before God. The ultimate gift to God is ourselves. Whether it is in personal prayer, or community worship, or the Eucharistic celebration, there must be no animosity among brethren. So Jesus says, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (v.23-24).

If a brother has anything against you, it must be for something you did or failed to do, that hurt the brother. If you are guilty as such, then it is indeed your responsibility to take the initiative to be reconciled. But even if you think you are not guilty, but you sense that your brother thinks so, then it is still your responsibility to work at being reconciled. That takes humility and a deep love for God and for brethren. That is holiness.

And imagine what would happen if we all took to heart what Jesus instructs us. Then we can avoid strife and division among brethren and in the community. Then we all can focus on the mission given us, and be used by God as His holy instruments.

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