12 June – Thursday in Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 18:41-46
Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go back, eat and drink ; for I hear the sound of rain.’ While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the earth, putting his face between his knees. –’Now go up,’ he told his servant ‘and look out to the sea.’ He went up and looked. ‘There is nothing at all’ he said. ‘Go back seven times’ Elijah said. The seventh time, the servant said, ‘Now there is a cloud, small as a man’s hand, rising from the sea.’ Elijah said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you”.’ And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel. The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and tucking up his cloak he ran in front of Ahab as far as the outskirts of Jezreel.
Jesus said, ‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’
Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.
In the Old Testament, the law said that people who were subjected to judgment were those who killed their brother. In the New Testament, Jesus seems to raise the standard of judgment when He tells us that those who are angry with their brothers/sisters would also be liable to judgment. Is Jesus raising the bar or is He showing us that anger also leads to death in the form of a spiritual and emotional death?
As human beings, we tend to pay a lot of attention to the visible, physical symptoms. When someone has a physical disability, we easily sympathize with them and accept their shortcomings. However, when someone is spiritually or emotionally ill, it is harder for us to accept their shortcomings. We tend to say that they should “grow up” or “snap out of their ways”. We are much more impatient with their flaws. We play down their emotional or spiritual wounds because it is not visible to our naked eye.
In today’s Gospel, however, Jesus reminds us that the spiritual and emotional realm of life is as important as the physical. When we are angry with someone, we may not physically kill that person but our actions/words have the potential to spiritually and emotionally kill the other. This, to Jesus, is as grave as physical death.
Let us, therefore, stop focusing on what is visible – physical, and assume that our actions are harmless as long as the other person “appears” fine. Many times, it is the spiritual and emotional wounds that are most damaging to the person’s capacity to function fully because the person does not receive the healing he/she needs; whereas physical wounds tend to be treated instantly. Let us be more aware of the fatal effects of hidden wounds and refrain from speaking words which can lead to spiritual or emotional deaths in others.
(Today’s reflection by Jean Cheng)
Prayer: We pray for those who have are suffering from spiritual or emotional wounds. Holy Spirit, heal their hearts and souls so that they may live fully, freely, and joyfully.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the people in our lives that have remained with us and accepted us during times the times we have been spiritually or emotionally hurt.
13 June, Fri – 1 Kings 19:9a. 11-16; Matthew 5:27-32
14 June, Sat -1 Kings 19:19-21; Matthew 5:33-37
15 June, Sun – Exodus 19:2-6a; Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 9:36-10:8; Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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