11TH MARCH 2022
Building Right Relationships with Others
Ezekiel 18:21-28, Ps 130, Mtw 5:20-26
• Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. There Jesus affirms the value of the Jewish Law but goes beyond it in various ways. At the beginning of the gospel reading Jesus quotes from one of the Ten Commandments ‘You shall not kill’. However, he goes beyond that commandment by prohibiting attitudes and behaviours that could eventually lead to killing.
• Jesus prohibits the following 3 attitudes and behaviours;
1. He prohibits ANGER, not the anger that is part and parcel of every person’s emotional life, but the nurturing of anger that can lead to destructive action. This was the kind of anger that Cain had towards Abel and that led him eventually to kill Abel.
2. Jesus also warns against INSULTING LANGUAGE, such as calling someone ‘Fool’ or ‘Renegade’. Jesus is very aware of the potentially destructive and indeed deadly power of language. How we speak to and about people will shape how we relate to them.
3. Jesus goes on to speak about the NEED TO BE RECONCILED with someone who has something against us. We might have expected him to speak about the need to be reconciled with someone we have something against. No, he calls on us to go out to the person who has something against us. He suggests that this work of reconciliation takes priority over the act of worship. ‘Leave your offering there before the altar…’.
In various ways in this gospel reading Jesus speaks about the importance of doing all we can to build right relationships with others.