Scripture: 1st Reading: 2Cor3,15-4,1,3-6; Resp. Psalm: Ps84,9-14; Gosp. Accl.: 1Thess2,13; Gospel: Mt5,20-26
What does it mean to live a good human life? What does it mean to enjoy authentic freedom? What is the goal of human existence? What should each person struggle to attain/achieve?What should be the priority of our lives?
One very important priority is to serve the Lord with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our strength. We do this when we turn daily to the Lord. When we do this, the veil of sin, pride and every form of lawlessness is removed. We behold God's glory and are changed into His likeness. The word of God comes alive for us every time we read it or hear it explained to us.
When one persistently refuses to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the mind of that person is blinded by the evil one to the truth that our Lord represents. The word of the Lord in today's first reading calls this evil one the god of this world. When anyone allows the Spirit of God to work within and through him, light shines out of darkness for that person and the light of Christ shines within his heart "to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God."
In other words, when anyone turns to the Lord, the glory of the Lord dwells within that person. According to the Psalmist, God will speak His peace into the heart of that person who seeks Him, grant him His salvation and glory. The one who turns to the Lord becomes blessed. He leads a life of righteousness that springs from within his heart.
Our Lord in today's gospel taught Hid disciples that this righteousness does not consist in external shows of piety that are inconsistent with what goes on within the heart. This is the "righteousness" of the scribes and Pharisees. For the believer, our Lord set new standards and codes of behaviour. Accordingly, the believer must transcend the demands of the law.
In this new understanding, therefore, the law that forbids one to take the life of another person is extended to include anger, insults and abuses towards the neighbour. While offering of gifts and sacrifices are praiseworthy actions from the believer, of greater value to our salvation is reconciliation with our brothers and sisters. This latter must never be neglected on the altar of the former.
We are thus reminded by the word today that the Christian life is a race. We are not going to run this race to finish in one day. Each new day presents us with renewed opportunity to examine where we are on the race with respect to where we should be. Let us do that examination of conscience this morning to see whether we are on the right track or not.
Let us pray: O Lord our God, you have invited us to partake of your life. Give us your grace to restart our race every day so that we may not be found wanting at the end of our lives. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele.