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27 February 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading is Matthew 5.20-26

It matters! How we get on with each other really matters.

There is no point in saying, as we do in our Sunday liturgy,  ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and peace to his people on earth’ – no point in this if we are not willing to apply this grand vision to the practicalities of getting on with each other at home, at work, at school, or at church.

I hardly need to convince you that the world needs peace – more today perhaps than ever, as we see so much hatred and violence in the news from day to day.

But it is a bigger thing to accept that each of us has a responsibility for making peace, and for making it real.

This means being ready to ask – ‘Who have I upset today?’ – and to do my best to apologise and put things right as soon as possible.

It means being ready to step in and say – ‘you two aren’t getting on so well – what has happened – is there anything I can do to help?’

It means being ready to say sorry, and, if it’s you that has been hurt, being ready to show you have been given the grace to forgive the person who has hurt you.

If we are to be Christ’s presence amongst the people with whom we share our lives, then we need to allow God to form us into the likeness of Christ. With the Holy Spirit, we are being changed from glory to glory. So, let us be peace-makers and not peace-lovers. Reconcilers and ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

Today’s Gospel Reading is Matthew 5.20-26

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult* a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.