Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle
Scriptural Readings: Acts 11:21b-26; 12:1-3; Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6; Matthew 5: 20-26
My dear encountered couples:
Today Jesus tells us that our “righteousness” needs to surpass the “righteousness” of the righteousness of the Pharisees! He tells us that if we are not righteous, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
“Righteousness” most likely is not a word we use every day. We are more apt to use words such as upright, honest or decent to describe a righteous person. Take a moment and ask yourself: who are the people you consider righteous in the best sense of the word? What are the qualities that you admire in them?
Now ask yourself: Do you consider yourself a righteous person? If so, what are the righteous qualities that you strive to cultivate in yourself? (honorable, upright, honest, respectable, decent, moral, good, loving, generous, forgiving?)
A righteous person is a good person. A righteous person is a loving person, an honest person. If we are at odds with anyone, Jesus desires that we settle our differences. A righteous person is the one who seeks out the individual with whom he or she needs to be reconciled with and makes peace with them.
To be truly righteous is not easy. First of all, we have to have an open and willing heart. We have to be willing to be the one who says: “I am sorry” or “Please forgive me.” Every day we need to work on our righteousness. Anger, hurt, and pain slowly poisons our righteousness and ultimately may destroy it. If we are carrying anger, hurt or pain, eventually this will erode not only our righteousness but also our peace of mind and heart.
As always: we have a choice! Do we desire to truly be righteous in the best sense of the word? Do we desire to be like Jesus? If so, what is one choice you and I can make today to move in the direction we desire? Will you, will I, take one step forward today? I pray we will!