In today’s Gospel, Jesus accords the highest respect to the Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments). However He rejects the idea of the Scribes and the Pharisees who considered that the external fulfillment of the precepts of the Mosaic Law was sufficient to obtain salvation. They disregarded the importance of the internal conversion of the people. For Jesus, a person is saved by the grace of God but not by mere observing the Mosaic Law to the letter. The internal conversion takes place with the grace of God.  Jesus also explains the real meaning of three Mosaic laws concerning murder, adultery and false oaths. In my reflection today I shall direct you to understand the true meaning of Murder according to Jesus. “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”. Here Jesus says that Anger which leads to sin is tantamount to Murder.

There are two types of anger namely righteous anger  and vicious or sinful anger. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2302) anger is righteous if it is directed towards maintaining something good or correcting a mistake of somebody or the community in which one lives. There were moments where Jesus too expressed his human anger. For example when he went to the temple of Jerusalem to pray, He found people doing business in the Temple. The Gospel reports that He chased them away from the Temple.  His anger in this instance was noble or righteous because it led him to correct a misdeed.

What is a sinful or vicious anger? If someone gets angry over something which is good and just, it can be called a vicious anger. For example a lazy student who didn’t study well but is angry at his teacher for failing him or giving him a low grade. If people behave angrily against pro-life project of the state or the Church, it is a sinful anger because the pro-life program is meant to safeguard human life from any destruction. Anger is sinful if it creates revengeful thoughts in his or her heart against another person. It sometimes creates murderous thoughts in one’s mind.  Long before anyone is shot by a gun, he is shot by a word, and before he is shot by a word, he is shot by a thought. Anger is sinful if it causes one to use foul language against others. Anger is sinful if it leads to abuse or assault another person physically.

It is human nature that we get angry. But we should be able to control our anger because it can break even a family life. One can lose one job. The worst is the loss of human life. Dale Carnegie, who is an expert on inter personal skill development says that when we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetite, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness. Our anger or hate is not hurting them at all rather it turns our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil.

As I mentioned before, Jesus got angry but never sinned. Before He left this world he forgave all those who were responsible for his crucifixion. He never reacted to his perpetrators in anger but with mercy. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to help us to manage the feelings of anger with patience which is a grace or a free gift of God for the people who ask for that.

Wishing you all a blessed week.