Read 2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1,3-6, Ps. 85:9-14, Matthew 5:20-26

“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.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus encouraging us to practice righteousness beyond average. This righteousness exceeds that of the hypocrites, a righteousness that is the same in public and secret. Jesus also warns that if our righteousness is not above average, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. If you must be a Christian, be the best!

One of the elements of this extraordinary righteousness Jesus wants us to practice is radical forgiveness. The true worth of our Christian commitment is tested by our ability to forgive, let go and reconcile. Before you boast about your holiness, ask yourself: “Can I forgive?” I once asked a couple preparing for marriage if they could forgive each other, and they both looked at themselves and said: “Father, ask him/her, oh.” It is funny how we expect others to forgive us constantly, but we are not ready to forgive.

Forgiveness is a complex topic. Today, Jesus wants us to know He is more pleased with our reconciliation with others than our offertories. Just as our gifts to God are expensive, forgiveness is also costly. Forgiving others is painful if the person refuses to admit their fault. However, this pain is worth it because it is pleasing to God.

While forgiveness is complex, the easier path to take (which is quite common) is that hatred. However, as John says, we cannot claim to love God, whom we have not seen, if our hearts are full of contempt for our fellow brothers and sisters that we see daily. (1st John 3:20). To hate a person is to practice average righteousness, but to love and forgive is to practice a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees.

In today’s first reading, St. Paul describes the condition of unbelievers as a case of persons under a veil. Just as a blanket prevents one from seeing clearly, those who belong to the world cannot make sense of the Gospel. They cannot make sense of a topic like forgiveness. St. Paul says: “In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Let us pray: Almighty Ever-Living God, give me the grace to offer a sacrifice of forgiveness. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of week 10 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1,3-6, Ps. 85:9-14, Matthew 5:20-26)

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu