10th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, June 10
2 Cor 3:15 - 4:1, 3-6 / Matthew 5:20-26
God's light shines in us; We must radiate God's light to others.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary lived in the 13th century.She was the daughter of the king of Hungary. After her family fully grown, she embarked on a life of personal poverty and devoted her time to serving the sick. A letter written by one of her contemporaries says, "When she came from private prayer, religious men and women often saw her face shine marvellously." What these people saw in the face of the saint was a kind of visible manifestation of the light that Paul talks about in today's reading, which God "has shone in our hearts." It is this light that we must radiate to others as St. Elizabeth did through her life of poverty and service.
How do we, personally, radiate the light of faith to other people? "Your light must shine before others." Matthew 5:16
The most basic principle and practice in photography is that the camera must be checked to see if the lens is clean or not. Otherwise the most beautiful scenery or the most touching moment taken by a camera may not turn out well on the photograph just because the lens is defective or dirty. Our eyes are like the lens of a camera. And it is not just the pair of eyes that are in question but the eyes of the heart.
The 1st reading talks about a veil over the minds of the Israelites. And it would not be removed until they turned to the Lord. For us who profess ourselves as Christians, we too must be careful of a veil over the eyes of our hearts. We too can succumb to the veil of easy Christianity, cheap grace, gospel of prosperity and risk-free discipleship.
Now he changes the picture: when you hear Moses on a Sabbath visit to the synagogue, you have a veil over your face. You are so full of Moses that you cannot see God. That veil over your face is prejudice. Turn to God and the veil will vanish. Where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom. Truth will make you free. Christ is reflecting the glory of God as a mirror reflects an image. That is the aim and purpose of our lives: uniformity with Christ. The message of salvation will only come to those who remove the veil. No one is as blind as those who do not to see. We, he says, are only the servants of Christ. God gave us the light of faith so that we see the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.
In the Gospel Christ tells us that our practice of love should go farther than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. All laws and the whole discipleship are based on love and creating a climate of love in which Christians do not only not kill in acts of violence but not even damage relationships in words and thoughts. Love at its deepest is shown in forgiveness without conditions, even if the one wrong is the other person! That’s not easy at all!
Jesus says: If you are not better than the scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. The scribes were the experts of the law. The Pharisees were the judges of the observance; to explain the principles was the task of the scribes. The Pharisees made it their job to judge people on what they did in observing the law. Jesus knows that sin has its source in the mind of man. Stop what leads to sin. Take the fifth commandment: Thou shalt not kill. Anger is the source that leads to killing. Stop the provocation to anger such as insults and killing will cease. There are two urgent reasons for not provoking anger. Man cannot offer a sacrifice for sin, when there is a new sin already in his heart. First get reconciled with your brother then you will be reconciled with God. The special urgency is due to the fact that we are already on the way to the judge. We must make peace before we meet our judge.
Our God of love, permeate us so deeply with the mentality of the good news of your Son Jesus Christ that in us there remains no room for violence, hatred, or looking down on others. Help us to create among us an atmosphere of trust and deep love that we give first place to the needs of others and forget ourselves for their sakes Let there be among us forgiveness without regret as was taught to us by Christ our Lord. Amen