READINGS for 2007-06-14
… but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. – 2 Corinthians 3:16
2 Corinthians 3:15—4:1, 3-6
P S A L M
G O S P E L
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Proverbs 9-12
OUR OFFERING CAN WAIT“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift,” said Jesus.
There is something strange about His words.
Do you notice that while the subject is “you,” the point of reference is “your brother”? Jesus did not say, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that YOU have anything against your brother...” We overlook this nuance quite often.
The Lord’s declaration immediately confronts us with a question: “Does my brother have anything against me?” The same declaration does not at all beg this question: “Do I have anything against my brother?” That my brother has anything against me is actually enough to make me unworthy to offer my gift to God.
How often we remember the hurts others inflict on us, but we tend to easily forget the hurts we cause them. We recall how others sin against us, but we take our sins against others quite lightly. Very often, we are quick in pointing an accusing finger on others but slow in striking our breast in admission of our guilt. Moreover, we regard the hurt we cause others as faults, weaknesses, or defects on our part, but we hold the hurt others inflict on us as sins, transgressions, or malice. We gloss over the truth and effects of our sins against others while we tend to magnify the faults others commit against us.
Jesus said in the Gospel today that unless our virtues do not go deeper than that of the scribes and the Pharisees we would never enter heaven, because the scribes and the Pharisees were guilty of hypocrisy. They considered themselves significant on account of their gifts on the altar but brushed aside their sins against others as insignificant. They had gifts to offer to God but no hearts to seek forgiveness from those they hurt. Because they did not give any serious thought about the hurt they inflicted on others, it was easy for the scribes and Pharisees to fall prey to hypocrisy. Hypocrites may be offering sizable amount of gifts to God but their gifts are never pleasing to Him.
Our offering can wait. Our hurting brethren cannot. God waits for us to remember.
Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Is there anyone who has anything valid against me?
Open my eyes, O Lord, that I may see my brethren hurting because of me. Open my heart, O Lord, that I may reach out to them and seek reconciliation with them. Then open my hands, O Lord, that I may offer my gift to You. Amen.
St. Methodius I Patriarch of Constantinople, pray for us.
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