13th JUNE 2024

Empower Your Faith / 1st Week of Lent — Friday, Matthew 5: 20–26 | by FRAY  BERT, OAR | Medium



Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor


1 Kgs 18: 41-46                      Ps 65: 10-13               Mt 5: 20-26


In counselling psychology, many therapists follow a technique called the ‘five whys.’ Originally created by Sakichi Toyoda, the five whys are used to drill down into a problem. We find that at the end of the last why, the patient has discovered certain in-depth knowledge of the problem that we did not consider at the start.

Saint Matthew consistently affirms Jesus as the great Rabbi who teaches with great authority and deep instruction. In the Beatitudes, at the start of His gospel, Jesus calls out identity first, followed by behaviour. His instruction is first pointed at the twelve, the disciples of Christ whose behaviour is expected to be distinct and higher than that of the scribes and Pharisees.

The liturgy today, draws a beautiful parallel between Elijah’s instruction to his servant and Jesus’s command to us. Elijah said, ‘Return seven times’. A miracle was witnessed the seventh time – the cloud appeared. It changed the course of the day, lives, history altogether. Jesus said, ‘Leave your offering and go back, reconcile first’ – Imagine the wonder at the end of that effort. A micro action that will manifest a macro effect.

Who are we – in Christ? Are we the placid church-goers, the enthusiastic missionaries, the preachers, the doers, the followers, or are we the disciples of Christ? Our identity in Christ must make way for a deeper and stronger action of personal and thereafter, communitarian shift.

Identity leads to words, words lead to action. Rectification of our behaviour is far more important than our sacrifices at the altar. Jesus is saying – Right now, I’m more concerned with what you can do for yourself and your brother and sister, than for me. God wants to bless us in every way, but we will fully prevent His blessings from flowing into our lives by three things – unrepented sin, unforgiveness, need for control without surrender.

Response: Praise is due to you in Sion, O God.

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