23 February, 2018: Anger Kills

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Friday of the First Week of Lent

Reading: Ez. 18. 21-28; Gospel: Mt. 5. 20-26.

Anger management is something widely recommended in these modern times. And today, Jesus gives us a wonderful motivation for the same: “If you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment.” (Mt 5:21)

Anger is a burning fire that harms not only the person towards whom it is directed but also the one who gets angry. If you get to visit some prisoners jailed for terrible crimes like murder, you would realize that most often the reason behind it would be anger. Just a moment of blinding anger and the person would be paying for it behind bars sometimes even until death.

The effects of anger is not constrained to this earthly life alone; on the contrary it extends even to eternal life which we so ardently desire for. This is the reason why Jesus warns us so strictly concerning anger. In the Old Testament, murder was something liable to judgment; but Jesus equates anger to murder when He states that one is liable to judgment when one becomes angry. In truth, anger is the cause and murder is only the effect.

Anger can be such a deep-rooted problem which can even affect your relationship with God. It can block your offerings (including prayers) from being accepted by God. The twist that Jesus adds to the story is that our offerings become unacceptable even if someone has something against us. Yes, it is a very delicate and difficult thing to accept but that is what Jesus is asking of us. He is not just demanding it from us alone,rather He showed us an example. He willingly washed the feet of Judas who was about to betray Him. He forgave the people who crucified Him in the midst of excruciating pain and suffering. He lovingly welcomed back Peter who betrayed Him. He is doing the same to us even today. Though we knowingly move away from Him, crucify Him by our sins, Jesus still has nothing against us. As we read in the first reading God is ever willing to forgive and take back a sinner into His loving embrace when there is conversion of heart.

Where are you today? Are you moving back to Jesus or moving away from Jesus? Is there something needs to be set right before your offerings become acceptable?

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