Scripture (Matthew 5:20-26)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
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.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
One thing I’m doing for lent is giving up Peanut Butter. I miss it and crave it about three times a day, which is good because I had told myself I would pray every time I crave it. My prayer count has since gone up and, up until yesterday, I had thought I was all set for a successfully humbling 40 days. Then I told my friend Fr. Alex what I was doing. He shrugged and said that was great.
“But how is that helping anybody else?”
The man had a point. Sure enough, today I passed by a sign advertising that Hunger Task Force was in need of peanut butter. I could almost hear God chuckle.
The path to spiritual righteousness often requires us to go deeper into ourselves and find ways to enter into a deeper understanding of God through prayer. However, one of the things Jesus (and Fr. Alex) is reminding us today is that it is just as essential to help and heal the relationships we have with our earthly brothers and sisters. Even if that means donating all of your peanut butter.
- What are you doing to help others this Lent?
- Are you harboring any anger that you can take steps to resolve?
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
Prayer of Generosity, St. Ignatius of Loyola
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
Ben Wagner is a professional retreat director and performing musician. Ben works with seventeen parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee leading retreats for middle and high school youth. He has performed music all over the country and has recently been named "One to Watch" by Nashville Songwriters Association International. Listen and find out more at Ben Wagner Music.