10th Week in Ord. Time, Thursday – 10th June 2021 — Gospel: Mt 5,20-26
Call for Self-Mastery
The scope of Jesus’ command is good relationship with people, not only with the neighbours (5,23-24) but also with “opponents” (vv.25-26). Jesus shows us that the attitude we carry around are already public acts, real deeds, and as such answerable before the judgement of God. Here Jesus is confronting our more frequent sin of irritable, irascible, temperamental anger – the decision to be angry people. Anger retained or expressed creates havoc and judgement. Jesus obviously calls first for self-mastery. Then he commands the discontinuing of anger and the commencement of some creative alternative. Anger happens and many situations call for it. Everything depends on what one does with his “happening”, and does with it as soon as possible. Anger is often involuntary and at least for a moment legitimate. It is exactly at the birth of anger, Jesus asks us to pay attention to: What will we do with it? Prolong it or master it? Cave into it or creatively use it? Confront the sinner (other) first or confront our own sinful disposition first? Jesus is forbidding the everyday anger that we carry about and by which we hurt so many. But he proposes to look for a moment of confrontation in private (18,15). We can capture Jesus’ intention in the words of Paul, “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil” (Eph 4,26-27).