First Reading: 1Kgs 18:41-46;Psalm: 65.; Gospel: Mt 5:20-26
A PURE HEART, A PURE OFFERING
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Our God is not so much interested in the bigness of our gifts but in the purity of our hearts. God looks at the heart that gives and not the hand that offers the gift. The Lord sees through the heart. It was for this reason that Jesus warned us today to beware of the futility of making an offering with impure heart. Such gift does not please God. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
It is not enough to keep the law. We have to live the spirit of the law which is love. The Pharisees kept all the laws but their righteousness was very shallow because in keeping the law, their hearts were filled with hatred. They claimed righteousness but are guilty of anger, insult, and casting of aspersion on Jesus’ image. And so Jesus brings before us today the evil of anger, insult, and slur. These sins expose us to greater evils.
We need to be conscious of the evil occasions that can lead us to sin. Anger, insult, and passing of unfair judgment on people injure the soul. An ill thought nurtured against others pollutes our hearts and hinders a pure offering to God. This was why the offering of Cain was rejected because he nurtured hatred for Abel and offered to God a sacrifice given without a pure heart. We can offer God the most expensive gifts and be rejected. We can also offer God a gift as little as we can afford and be accepted. The difference is the heart that gives it.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, may love and not hate permeate our hearts always. Amen.