March 15 – Friday
Friday of the First Week of Lent
Gospel: MT 5:20-26 – Do not be angry, be reconciled
Jesus addressed the issue of keeping the commandments with his disciples. The scribes and Pharisees equated righteousness with satisfying the demands of the law. Jesus showed them how short they had come. Jesus points to the heart as the seat of desire, choice, and intention. Unless forbidden and evil desires are uprooted and cut-out, the heart will be poisoned and the body become a slave to sin and passion.
Jesus illustrates his point with the example of the commandment to not kill. Murder first starts in the heart as the seed of forbidden anger that grows within until it springs into words and actions against one's brother or neighbor. This is a selfish anger that broods and is long-lived, that nurses a grudge and keeps wrath warm, and that refuses to die. Anger in the heart as well as anger in speech or action are equally forbidden. The Lord Jesus commands by grace – take away the anger in your heart and there will be no murder.
Prayer; (all together)
Lord Jesus, my heart is cold. Make it warm, compassionate, and forgiving towards all, even those who do me harm. Amen