Friday, July 13, 2018
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother or sister will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the smoldering fire of the burning rubbish field called Gehenna.” – Matthew 5:21-22
I do not like these words of Christ for they are troubling to me, they expose a capacity to hate and violence that I wish was not there. Yes, these ought to be troubling words to humankind.
The “anger” to which Christ refers is a simmering, brooding, vengeance-in-making anger. It is unresolved anger. It is anger that nurtures malice in the heart and furthers the distance between souls. It is an anger that consumes the angry.
Anger breeds anger like a fire growing wider. It can become more than understandably justified anger … it become the dominant tone and timbre of our lives. This anger once specifically focused becomes a generalized anger that is no longer under our control.
I am guilty of this Gehenna-anger, this smoldering in my soul. When it takes over my soul it breaks relationships and causes me to erupt in places and moments when their ought to be peace. I think of God’s conversation with Cain …
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – Genesis 4:6-9
Always in Christ’s Service
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz