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But I say to you

 

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Gospel • Mt 5:20-26

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. 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. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

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Our Gospel readings for today and tomorrow are taken from a challenging section of chapter five of Matthew; these verses (5:20-48) are popularly called the “six antitheses.” Six times Jesus quotes a passage from the Old Testament. He does not negate the command, but he provides an “antithesis,” a deeper interpretation and a more profound challenge. He asserts that it is not just enough to follow the external demands of the law; there must be a sincere change of heart.

Yes, the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill,” remains in force. However, the Christian must not even harbor anger in his heart or use abusive language to a brother or sister. Even before coming to worship and offering one’s gift at the altar, one must seek reconciliation. Only in this way can we enter the Kingdom of God.

In concrete events of daily life, how can I be an “instrument of reconciliation”?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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