Thursday June 13, 2024

Jesus has the remedy for anger

Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica


“Holiness means owning up to our choices and working hard to establish new and better ways of treating others.”


Good News Reflection for:

Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church
June 13, 2024

Today’s Prayer:

Forgive me, Jesus, for the times I insulted others! I wasn’t aware that when I insult them I also insult You. Fill me with Your merciful love and heal me from the anger inside me. Amen.

SaintsSubscribe to Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
gnm.org/SaintQuotes/

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 18:41-46
Ps 65:(2a)10-13
Matthew 5:20-26
bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061324.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
bible.usccb.org/podcasts/audio/daily-mass-reading-podcast-june-13-2024

Overcoming the destructiveness of anger

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus explains the increasing dangers of anger by referring to increasingly disastrous results in an angry person’s soul. At the lowest level anger in the heart results in “judgment,” which is represented by the Jewish local court, where the least of the three punishments are meted out.

Then, he names one of the initial ways that anger in the heart becomes anger that kills: Using abusive language toward others (“raqa” means nitwit or imbecile) destroys their self-esteem by belittling their true worth. The abuser must now face a trial before the Sanhredin, the highest judicial body.

Finally, Jesus warns us that holding others in contempt (“you fool”) is even worse. No longer an “imbecile”, the person under attack is being called “worthless” (the direct meaning of the Greek word). To get so angry at people that we totally disregard their value is to condemn ourselves to “Gehenna”. (Gehenna was a local valley used by a pagan cult to burn children to death as a sacrifice for their demonic gods, and the Jews thought it a fitting representation of what we today call “hell.”)

The idea that this kind of anger is equal to murder is easier to understand if we read 1 John 4:7-21, which says that God is love, and when we have anger, we have no love; therefore we don’t have God, and without God we do not have eternal life.

Name-calling is not the only way we belittle others and kill their self-esteem. Any such damage affects how they live and think and react to situations and handle other people, often for many years. Pieces of their hearts or behaviors or personalities have died. Our repentance, plus psychological counseling and inner healing, with Jesus’ help, can restore these dead areas to new life.

We have all been damaged. I hope you’re taking full advantage of God’s healing for the wounds you still carry. It makes it easier to stop inflicting the same harm on the people around you. It is a choice. Holiness means owning up to our choices and working hard to establish new and better ways of treating others.

Jesus explained the remedy for the anger we feel: “Go and do whatever is necessary to be reconciled with the one who’s made you angry.” This, he points out, is even more important than worshiping God. How genuine is your worship if anger has replaced love in your heart, since God is love?

When someone treats us unfairly, anger is a natural reaction. As a feeling, there is nothing sinful about it, but what we do with it indicates how close we are to Christ. To stay close, we respond with an act of love; we “go and do,” disregarding our angry impulses for the sake of holding others in high regard.

For a Bible Study on the entire Sermon on the Mount, visit wordbytes.org/bible-study/holy-living-1

Reflect further on this issue with our Faith Booster: “Good anger, bad anger” @ https://wordbytes.org/faith-booster-minis/good-anger-bad-anger/

© 2024 by Terry A. Modica

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