Daily Readings Reflection for 6/11/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 6/11/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Thurs. of second week. II Cor.3:15-4:1.3-6. Psalm
85:9-10.11-12.13-14. Matthew 5:20-26. Lectionary # 362:

One of the compelling ethical statements that Jesus makes in the
Sermon on the Mount is the one which follows his insistance on going beyond
the fifth commandment.  Even anger is not to be shown toward another and an
absolute is “thou shalt not kill.”  Here the image Jesus uses is that of
worshipping and bringing our gift to the altar in the temple.  We do
something similar today in the offerings that are brought to the altar
during the Eucharist.  Jesus’ words fit the action so well and apply also
to approach in receiving the Eucharist.  The words of Jesus are strikingly
clear, “If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your
brother (or sister) has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar,
and first be reconciled with your brother (or sister) and then come and
offer your gift. Lose no time!”

Reconciliation, forgiveness, even forgetting past offenses against
us, are within the spirit of what Jesus is saying.  Doing this brings us
into the realm of wholesomeness, holiness, and righteousness before God.
What better time to be aware of this than when we come into sacred places
and spaces and think of offering something to God.  The phrase “To thine
own self be true” is also within the spirit of what this saying means. But
does not this demand a lot of courage, humility, and trust in our brothers
and sisters and neighbors?   Only if we allow our hearts to be cleared and
transparent will we be at peace with our offerings and prayers to God.
Paul seems to be saying something similar and encouraging us to surrender
to the Spirit. He says, “The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the
Lord is, there is freedom.”

We do not do this alone. We need the Spirit to help us and guide us
as we approach the altar and realize we need to be reconciled, forgiven or
forgiving. Then we will be ready to offer our gift with a freedom of heart,
mind, and soul.  The altar of the Lord should be an image of what the altar
of our heart is. Once we have a pure and generous heart then we can
approach the Lord at the altar.  We pray for this gift through the Spirit,”
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the
fire of divine love.” Amen.

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