13 June, 2013. Thursday of the Tenth Week
2 Cor 3:15ff. Gazing on the Lord’s glory we are transformed into his image.
Mt 5:20ff. Before offering a gift on the altar, first be reconciled with your neighbour.
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6
To this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Gospel: 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 judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; 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.
Both readings refer to a mountain where God was encountered in a transforming moment of grace. Paul recalls Mount Sinai, where Moses stayed with the Lord for forty days and wrote the words of the covenant on tablets of stone; then, as he came down from Mount Sinai the skin of his face had become so radiant that he had to veil his face whenever he met with people. We too enter the holy place, opened up by Jesus’ death on the cross, where there is true freedom. Paul believes that this mystical experience is open to everyone who has faith. All of us can gaze on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, like Moses.
The Gospel carries us to the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Lake of Galilee, where Jesus spoke the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). He tells us how to be transformed so as to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: “Do not grow angry, do not use abusive language, do not offer a gift on the altar without first being reconciled with neighbour.” This advice may seem too basic to put us on the road to mystical experiences like those of Moses or Jesus. Yet it is charity, patience and forgiveness that situate us on Mount Calvary, where Jesus died in the sacrifice that enables us like Moses to converse with God.