Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Father Matthew Kaderabek, LC
Matthew 5:20-22, 27-28, 33-34, 37
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 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, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One. ”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I can be so cold to your salvific presence as I hurry about living the moment and becoming so sufficient unto myself. There is little wonder that I find it hard to bring myself to prayer—to use faith to know you, divine love to live in you, and theological hope to trust in you. I approach you now, wanting only to be a more faithful disciple of your Kingdom.
Petition: Christ, help me to be reconciled with others.
1. It Was Said to Your Ancestors That You Shall Not Kill … But I Say to You: In the Old Testament God gave the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This seems difficult enough to do, but in the New Testament, Our Lord requires much more. The night before he died, Jesus said to his disciples—and he says now to us—, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How did Jesus love us? We have only to look at the crucifix. He laid down his life for us so that, purified by his Precious Blood, we might be united with the Most Blessed Trinity in the eternal happiness of heaven.
2. “Be Reconciled with Your Brother” – Jesus does not say “neighbor,” but “brother.” In taking upon himself our human nature, Jesus Christ became our brother and the head of the whole human race. He has raised us all, through him, to the dignity of the divine adoption, in such a manner that all Christians compose only one family of which God is the Father and Jesus the first-born Son. Each person we meet is—or is potentially—our brother or sister in Christ. Each is—or is potentially—a member of the family. Therefore, Jesus teaches us that, “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.”
3. “Go First and Be Reconciled With Your Brother, and Then Come and Offer Your Gift.” – The great St. Thomas More was about to offer God the gift of his martyrdom. It was the month of July 1535. As soon as the unjust court pronounced the sentence of death, Sir Thomas asked to say a few words. He reminded these noblemen that St. Paul and St. Stephen were once on opposite sides and yet, as saints now in heaven, they remain friends forever. He continued: “I shall therefore rightly pray, that though your lordships have now here on earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven all meet together, to our everlasting salvation.” What heroic charity! How was it possible? It was possible because St. Thomas saw his judges with the eyes of Christ. He sees them as human beings who are beloved of God and destined for heaven. So he prays that they will repent of their injustice and receive God’s mercy.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to see my brother as you see him: a person so valuable that you laid down your life for him. Help me to love my brother as you have loved us, with humility and generosity, without counting the cost. I pray especially for those who have injured me or those whom I have injured.
Resolution: I will offer this day for the eternal salvation of all those whom God has, in some way, entrusted to my care.