Jesus commands men to avoid unrighteous anger and warns of the fires of Hell. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by growing in the Fruits of Patience, Gentleness and Self-control so he can reject the culture of death and uphold life and by building the Virtue of Meekness so he can more consistently seek the Beatitude of Meekness.
10th Week in Ordinary Time – Thursday – Mt 5:20-26
Continuing with the Sermon on the Mount, having absolutely affirmed The 10 Commandments, Jesus now raises the bar even higher. Jesus asserts that men who enter the Kingdom of Heaven must possess a righteousness that surpasses the Pharisees’ (Mt 5:17-19); this is a huge hurdle for, despite being misguided in many ways, the Pharisees loved God deeply and sacrificed much to attempt to live with deep daily piety.
With the astounding assertion He has the authority to modify the 1200-year-old Law given by Moses, Jesus expands The 5th Commandment (Thou shall not kill) to include even inner feelings of anger in the definition of “kill.” In the Old Testament, laws were laid down to hold society together; in the New Covenant, Jesus perfects the Law to not only keep the outer rules but to draw men to an inner holiness that will allow them to be truly joyful and more consistently love others.
Jesus affirms men are judged and the reality of Hell with a reference to Gehenna, a squalid, perpetually burning hellish trash dump near Jerusalem where the horror of child sacrifice was practiced in earlier days. Jesus likens Judgment to the brutal treatment of prison guards and judges and being cast violently into prison. To avoid being condemned to Hell for the sin of anger, Jesus urges men to reconcile with an aggrieved brother prior to offering their sin offering at the Temple, and then to go to the altar to reconcile with God for their sins of anger, a prefigurement of the Sacrament of Penance.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Contrary to the rampant Wrath (one of The 7 Deadly Sins) evident in men, especially in today’s diseased and divisive culture, consider how Jesus rejects unrighteous anger: Divine Meekness (a part of Temperance which controls unrighteous anger), Jesus demonstrates remarkable restraint in delaying punishment of those who reject Him throughout the Incarnation; He gives explicit common examples of anger to avoid (fraternal anger, slander, condemnation); He previews the Sacrament of Penance in which sins are forgiven and men are called to restitution and reconciliation rather than angry vengeance.
Reject the culture of death and uphold life
Realize: After confirming that The 10 Commandments are binding for mankind, Jesus immediately focuses upon The 5th Commandment, “thou shall not kill”, a confirmation of the absolute sanctity of life; in direct rebellion against Christ, many today support a “culture of death” which includes the right to abortion, use of aborted babies in medical products, euthanasia, assisted suicide, liberal use of the death penalty, unjust wars, etc.
Believe: Reflect upon The 5th Commandment (CCC 2258-2330).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Patience, Gentleness and Self-Control so my thoughts and acts towards others help safeguard peace and so I can fulfill my obligation to keep The 5th Commandment by peacefully opposing the “culture of death.”
Seek the beatitude of Meekness
Realize: While righteous anger can lead men to resist the evil acts of men (CCC 1765) as Jesus demonstrates in the clearing of the Temple (Jn 2:13-17), Jesus warns men to be cautious of unrighteous anger, and to “turn the other cheek” (Mt 5:39); in the growing chaos of the hate-filled modern culture, far too many men embrace unrighteous sinful anger.
Believe: Reflect upon the Deadly Sin/Vice of Unrighteous Anger/Wrath (CCC 1866, 2262, 2302-2303).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Meekness, help me build the Virtue of Meekness (a part of Temperance) so I can approach others in meekness, always reject unrighteous anger, and be a peacemaker who draws many to You and Your Holy Catholic Church.