Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 5,20-26

'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven. 'You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You shall not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother "Fool" will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him "Traitor" will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. In truth I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

"Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." God's justice is salvation and not condemnation; it is limitless love; it does not divide in equal parts as human justice does. This new way of considering justice is the condition for entering the kingdom of heaven. Jesus does not propose a new number of cases, or a new juridical practice, but rather a new way of understanding relationships between people: it is love that makes these relationship firm, strong and effective. In this love law and justice are fulfilled. It is necessary to pass from a negative precept to the positivity of love without anything in exchange. For Jesus, as for his disciples, there are no enemies. Gratuitous love, without return, is the culmination of the Law and of following Jesus. Love, gratuitous love, has such a high value that even the interruption of the supreme act of worship is required if it is lacking: "So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift." It is a specific dimension of the Gospel that must never be disregarded. Jesus then uses the example of the debt to cover or the credit to have. And he says that we should find an agreement without having to resort to the mediation of a judge. Fraternity and love for others must prevail in the life of the community of disciples. Jesus knows well that the egocentric instinct that constantly pushes us to satisfy first of all our own "I" and to put forward our own interests, which leads to the collapse of fraternal bonds, must be pushed back. Jesus urges us to advance our love for others and to give space to the primacy of reconciliation over indifference and conflict.