Memorial of Saint Barnabas, apostle
(Acts 11:21b-26.13:1-3; Matthew 5:20-26)
Much like Mr. Rogers of the children’s television program, the personalist psychologist Carl Rogers had a tremendous sensitivity toward others’ suffering. He used to give the irrefutable statistic, “One out of every one of us is hurting.” In response to universal suffering all should be considerate and compassionate. Such a stance will help the Christian fulfill Jesus’ challenging instruction in today’s gospel.
Everyone knows that murder is wrong, but few question “righteous anger” when it spills over into name calling and insult. Jesus calls for a stop to such behavior. He pleads for patience toward those with emotional difficulties. He does not mean allowing the disturbed person to act violently. But he does insist that his followers show respect so that wrongdoers may recognize their faults and correct them.
We will be reeling in the wake of the George Floyd murder for a long time. The police involved seemed to have shown pointedly merciless behavior. We must be careful not to seek revenge on them. Rather a punishment that fits the crime should be given along with our prayers for their repentance. We are wise as well to pray that we never hurt anyone as we carry out our responsibilities.