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Lenten reflection: Day 10
Gospel, Matthew 5:20-26
What is it that everyday life, in every circumstance, among all peoples, and with God Himself expects? In most cases the expectation is for life to be fair. We expect to receive what we think is deserving of us. We trust that we will be treated fairly in the situations that we find ourselves in. Also, we expect God to be our just provider even when we are not fair to Him, in prayer, charity and love.
To be is fair is to be just. Justice delayed is justice denied they say. So if justice is important and necessary for peaceful and co-existence of people within communities, nations and the world at large, then people’s thoughts and actions too have to be truthful and worthy of nonbiased judgment. In ancient Israel, Pharisees were considered to be masters of the Law. Law was in their mind but their heart was not with The Law. Their deeds surpassed the essence of the Law which was mercy, love and justice. Time and again Jesus spoke about their ‘clumsy spirituality’. Outwardly they attracted reverence and inwardly they were brewing coldness towards God’s love for them.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is again pointing out about the ways of the Pharisees, but this time even more crudely, to the extent of warning the people of being accountable to the last penny. Human relationships have been at the core of God’s plan of love for mankind from the very beginning of time. God always wanted man to be an instrument of love. This meant that He treated everything with those virtues which streamed from the ocean of love, virtues such as charity, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, humility and selflessness.
In Matthew 12:50 it is written that Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” This communion and kinship with the family of God categorically requires for us to be loving towards all, all men and women, who do the will of the Father, irrespective of their colour, creed, language or place in society. This love, gracefully transforms our hearts to look at our neighbor with the mind and heart of God. The consequence is compassion, empathy, understanding, patience, cooperation, forgiveness and unity.
The best offering man can present to God is a selfless heart. It is a selfless heart that listens to the cry of the needy (no matter what the origin of the person is), sees the visible and invisible suffering of the meek, and speaks words of hope to those who are lost. A selfless heart does not condemn, but forgives, it does not plot, but defends, it does not abuse, but restores, it does not abandon, but unites. My friends, let us therefore seek to blossom love, so that justice may flourish and peace may endure, thus may The Lord accept our kind and humble offerings and bestow upon us graces and blessings that will ensure a safe and joyful pilgrimage to heaven. Amen.