CHARITY IN THE EYES OF GOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRAYER [MATTHEW 5:20-26]
Today’s Gospel reading is a short passage taken from our Lord’s “Sermon on the Mount.” He reminds us of our duty to love our neighbors.
There is great need for more charity in the world. In our material age there is a great tendency for each one to get what he can out of life: money, pleasure, and honor. We are so individualistic-minded. We may believe that our separated Christian brethren are wrong in their beliefs, but this is no excuse for lack of Christian love. We need charity for all people. Christ died for all, and we must be willing to go out our way to be especially kind, instead of prejudiced.
Love has many wonderful effects. It increases our energy for good. It gives strength to overcome obstacles, even to perform heroic deeds. Love makes us joyful, cheerful. Nothing can disturb or weary us. Everything we do out of love seems light, for love is our strength, our joy and peace.
Today Christ emphasizes that we should always be on good terms with our neighbor, with everyone. If we aren’t, we’re not on good terms with God either, and as a result much of the good we do goes to waste.
Let us follow Christ’s advice as He tells us, “If you bring your gift to the altar – if you are at prayer or about to attend Holy Mass – and there recall that your brother has anything against you – you’re on the outs with someone, you have insulted him – leave your gifts at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother – make up, pay him his due, apologize – and then come and offer your gift.”
The conclusion? Charity in the eyes of God is more important than prayer. Without charity it is no real prayer. Saint John says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20).
Jakarta, 12 June 2014
A Christian Pilgrim