Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Kings 18:41-46; Matthew 5:20-26)
The presence of so many guns in American culture has had disastrous effects. In some places like Chicago teen gangs are murdering not just one another but very innocent people who surround them. From what is happening, the insightfulness of Jesus in today’s gospel is borne out.
Jesus tells his disciples that calling someone “’Raqa, ’” an Aramaic word meaning imbecile, carries a punishment equivalent to that of murder. He is indicating that the anger with which such a word is emitted would likely induce one to kill the other if a sufficient weapon were at hand. Christian discipleship must go beyond that kind of reaction. Jesus is calling for a care for those who offend as he will die for sinners.
We have a hard time with anger. The best we often think we can do is not to stay away from those who might offend us. Perhaps, as a temporary strategy, that is prudent. However, sooner or later as Jesus’ disciples we should strive for reconciliation.