FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
FEBRUARY 26, 2021
First Friday of Lent
WORD of the DAY
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise 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.” (Matthew 5: 20- 26)
How shall I live this Word?
Today’s word speaks to us of an ‘adversary’: as if to say that the Christian life is a battle, a bitter contest against an enemy. Only the word of God gives it flesh and bones, body and soul: it is the scribe or the Pharisee who, well disguised, lurks within us. An enemy’s will, which knows of Pharisees and legalism, which tries to inject us with the deadly poison of respectability. It whispers to us to compromise our relationship with God, so as to make it harmless, superficial, and undemanding. Against it we are called to ‘overcome’, to deny the convenience of adapting to a moral facade, good for silencing our conscience. We are called to ‘more’, in obedience before which we cannot be satisfied, we cannot be quiet, and we must be courageously critical of ourselves so that we can become capable of loving others with our heart. Salvation lies in welcoming, in building bridges, in looking beyond.
Today I will ask for the courage to give up cultivating in my heart a desire for vengeance, for revenge, for contention. I will humble myself before the Lord, adoring Him in the Host who for love of me made Himself small, made Himself bread, fragile, offered, broken.
The Voice of George Bernanos, Author
To be holy, what bishop would not give up his ring, miter and crosier; which cardinal would not give up his purple; which pontiff his white habit, his waiters, his Swiss Guards, all his temporal patrimony? The whole great apparatus of wisdom, strength, discipline, majesty, and magnificence of the Church is nothing if holiness does not animate it … Holiness, in fact, is an adventure. It is the only possible adventure.
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