Friday of the First Week of Lent
Today’s gospel reading challenges us to align our heart with our actions. In today’s reading, Jesus tells His disciples that living a life aligned with the commandments does not suffice – but rather our heart, our intentions must also be aligned with Christ’s teaching. Jesus points out that if our hearts are filled with anger and resentment towards our neighbor that our offering to God becomes meaningless. He challenges us to first resolve our conflict and to let go of the anger in our hearts before coming to God.
Our gospel today reminds us to avoid the temptation of letting our faith become our escape. We can immerse ourselves in the teachings of the church, in the sacraments – all of which are beautiful things – but can do so while still holding on to deep seeded resentments and avoiding the harsh realities of our world. Jesus reminds us that true sacrament requires internal transformation and living out our faith, not simply showing up for church on Sundays. In many ways it is much harder to engage with our co-worker that we do not get along with, to resolve the conflict with our spouse, or to work for social justice in our community than it is to pray or go to church. So today, let us be reminded that true faith calls us to align our heart and our actions with the faith that we profess.
- Jean Baumgardner