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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Thursday of the 10th Week of Ordinary Time Download This Homily

1 Kings 18:41-46 ;

 Psalm 65:10-13;

Gospel MT 5:20-26


Jesus said to his disciples: 
"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny." 

 

The Fifth Commandment

 

 In today’s gospel we have Jesus’ Interpretation of the fifth commandment: “You shall not kill” in the light of the new righteousness of the Kingdom.


Already in the Old Testament human life is held to be sacred and therefore protected by the fifth commandment. The reason given in Genesis 9:6 for the protest against the shedding of blood in murder is simply: “for God made man in his own image.” The Old Testament already sees the danger of escalation inbuilt in any form of violence. Killing breeds counter-killing. So God places a seal on Cain: “And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him” (Gen 4:15). Even a murderer’s life is precious before God and is to be protected.


Jesus’ interpretation of the fifth commandment draws our attention deeper to the indissoluble link between the outward deed and the inward thought. The physical blow is very often no more than the final explosion of a pent-up hatred of a spontaneous, or worse, a nursed hatred for the fellow human being.  There are “structures” of murder in our human life, open or concealed. To take the fifth commandment seriously also means uncovering and analysing these structures and countering them in time. Jesus’ concern is that we get to the root causes of murder which operate in us and influence our behaviour even beneath an outward show of respectability.  According to Jesus true worship of God is impossible when our hearts are caught up in the dark noisy emotions of anger, hatred and contempt for another.


Jesus goes further in his interpretation of the fifth commandment. It is not a matter of not killing, of refraining from murder, but rather of taking positive action to prevent the threatened destruction of life. For this Jesus first of all exhorts reconciliation before it is too late; we are to reach agreement with our fellowmen “…while we are still on the way to court with them” (cf. Mt 5:25). Placing love of neighbour and of enemies at the centre of his new righteousness Jesus’ interpretation of the fifth commandment invites us to go beyond reconciliation to take positive action to foster life by working against “killing conditions”


which oppress our fellowmen. So the fifth commandment bids us not just to refrain from killing but also to involve ourselves in bettering the systems supportive of life.  This means involving ourselves in bettering respect for human rights, abolition of discriminations of any type (racism, casteism), poverty alleviation, care for the right of labourers including domestic labourers, improvement of political and economic systems that they become supportive of life, and so on.  The fifth commandment reminds us that killing means: anything at all which diminishes a person’s basic requirements for living, which cuts the ground from under the other person, even if this is done unintentionally, by sheer negligence, and not out of deliberate wickedness.


Thus it is not only Cain’s murder of Abel that is covered by the fifth commandment but also, the laziness and negligence of people like ourselves, our failure to respond to the needs of our near and distant neighbours.  In this Eucharist we will pray for ourselves and for one another that the Lord will grant us that sensitivity to discover those conditions that stifle life in anyway and the strength to work toward resolving them.


Fr. Henry Angel SAC


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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