Reflection on the Gospel of the Thursday In The Tenth Week Of Ordinary Time
The very first line of today’s gospel reads, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Righteousness as you all know is the type of relationship one has with God. And here Jesus is plainly stating that we need to have a relationship with God. The Scribes and Pharisees, He says, did not have a relationship with God. Or to put it a little differently, they had a legalistic relationship with God – This is what the Law said, and that is what they did. It was a selective reading of scripture, and blindly obeying it. Gone were the ideas of God being Father, in the sense of we his children, and what was stressed on was God as creator, and thus owner of our lives. Gone was the understanding that He created us in his image and likeness, so possible, not to relate as creator, but as children. Therefore the type of relationship they lived was superficial, and surface level. Because of this many other things were also interpreted wrongly. Gone was also the sense of universal brotherhood, since God had created every human person. In came individualism and nationalism and the exclusivity of the Israelite nation – and their super selection by God. And thus the Jews opposed the Samaritans, saying their faith was adulterated, therefore do not mingle with them, and so also Romans who were their rulers.
Jesus in today’s scripture tells us, such things take us away from the true understanding of God. Being angry is like dividing the family, and killing, because, anger is not something that God can be. Here we are talking of anger as in being angry for a long time. As humans anger at times is natural, but we cannot live and abide in it. Because it has the power to change us and fashion us into something ungod like. Thus we also fail as witnesses to God’s Love and Truth. This is one facet to today’s scripture, which Jesus is telling us, ‘be warned, let not anger change you into something that even you will not like, since then you will not remain in the image of God.’ This would also amount to rejection of the gift of life and likeness that God has given us to be like Him. Anger also blinds us to Truth.
At times we are angry because we do not like the way things are happening in our lives. This also is a rejection of the idea of God being Good, and he directing all things good into our lives. Here our only-I-am-right attitude and and anger blinds us to the realities of life. As a result even what we label as painful , hurtful or horror, are actually good gifts from God, to fashion us more into His likeness. Therefore our reaction to what we label as life’s not-so-good things/experiences will determine if we will abide in bitterness or gratefulness.