Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
This is a difficult teaching for me. How can my righteousness be that pure, as Jesus demands it should be? How can I never call someone “fool,”, when they so plainly deserve it? How can Jesus demand that I not even be angry against my brother, when he so obviously is in the wrong? At first I am confused – isn’t Jesus asking the impossible here?
Then I dig a little deeper. Is it possible there is mercy even in the hardest of Gospel teachings? Jesus didn’t say if I sin once, I am going to hell. No, there is an ascending order here. Feeling angry is subjecting myself to unspecified judgment. Saying Raqa (imbecile) I am subjecting myself to human judgement (Sanhedrin). Persisting in this sin, that’s when I risk hell (Gehenna).
So it is persistence of sin that I most have to fear. But even in the worst circumstance when “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.” Even then, there is hope and expectation of mercy. The implication here is that I can earn my reward and I will have an opportunity to pay every last penny. Thank you Lord, for Purgatory!
How have you experienced God’s mercy, when you have overcome sin?
I thank you, Lord, for all the chances you give me to get it right. Help me overcome persistent sin and remember me in Your mercy.
Copyright 2017 Mari Lamb
Mari is a full time seeker of God’s boundless mercy. She is pleased to report that the Hound of God has caught her and holds her firmly in His grip.