Friday, February 19, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 5:20-26

Friday of the First Week of Lent - Matthew 5:20-26

In today’s Gospel Jesus is talking about holding onto grudges, anger, hurt, and hatred. I assume that most of us do not hate someone. However, I am sure that all of us have dealt with grudges, anger, hurt, and jealousy at various times in our lives. These are emotions that we all have. They are part and parcel of being human. Do we always like these emotions? Most likely not! Yet, these emotions that we may consider negative are as much part of us as are the positive emotions, such as love, gratitude, appreciation, hope, understanding, and faith!

As human beings, we experience both ends of the spectrum of emotions: positive and negative. Today Jesus is talking to his disciples about the choices we have. We can choose to focus on the emotions that we know are positive and make us feel good: love, hope, generosity, and faith, or we can choose to focus on the emotions that disturb us and upset us: anger, jealousy, etc. 

The reality is that our emotions are neither “bad” nor “good.” They simply are! However, we have to learn how to deal with the gamut of emotions. For those of you who are parents, how did you teach your children to deal with their emotions? Did you teach them to throw temper tantrums, hit others, and act out? I assume not! However, we do not always practice what we preach. 

We all know what Jesus is asking us to do. It is not easy! At these times, it may be helpful to vent to a friend or to sit down and write a letter to God, expressing all that you are feeling in your journal. Most of all, we need to pray for the grace, the strength, and the wisdom we need at this time. What will we choose today? It is up to us. We have the power and God will give us the grace that we need. Do we trust this reality?

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