Above and beyond

Readings for Friday March 6, 2009

First Reading:  Ezekiel 18:21-28
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 130
Gospel:  Matthew 5:20-26

Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD.  Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live? (Ezek 18:23)

Have you ever heard anyone say, "God must really have it in for me?"  I am always puzzled when I hear expressions like this.  Some people really think that God is up in heaven just cooking up something disastrous for people just for giggles.  I would say that these people do not truly know or understand God (not that any of us have a complete understanding either).  But the person of faith, knows that God is not out to get them or to make their life miserable, they know that He is a loving God of mercy, who wishes to know and have all of His children join Him in heaven.  God wants to give us life, and not just here on earth, but an everlasting life in heaven.  But in order to achieve it, we must be willing to turn away from the things that are evil and that seek to separate us from God.

Jesus warns us today that we must go above and beyond in our faith lives.  He tells the people of the time that their righteousness must surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus is telling us not to settle, and that we must continue to grow in our faith.  By growing, we can continue to let Him work in us and to follow Him more closely.  He also warns us of the dangers of not being reconciled to our family and neighbors.  We are called to a life of loving God above all things, and our neighbor as ourselves.  If we have done anything to those around us, we must make amends for our actions, and likewise, we must be willing to show mercy to those who come to us asking for it; just as our heavenly Father forgives us.  

Today, think about someone that you have wronged, either lately or in the past, and how can you be reconciled with this person?  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, we are so small and so human, give us the strength to follow you through any fire that we are put through.  Lord, hep us to remember that the issues and challenges that we face only help to strengthen us.  Lord, we trust in you and in your ways.  Amen.      

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