Homily for Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Were the Pharisees really plotting murder because Christ cured a man’s crippled hand on the Sabbath? Of course not; they were looking for an excuse.

There is a lot of anger in today’s Gospel reading. The Pharisees are angry at Christ because He is a threat to them. Christ is angry with the Pharisees because of the hardness of their hearts – because their own power and position are more important to them than doing the right thing is.

Anger itself is not automatically wrong. However, it is seldom right. Christ during His ministry on earth rarely became angry; when He did, his anger was justified. The Pharisees, it seems, spent much of their time angry at Him. Their anger was never justified.

Anger can make us do stupid things. It can make us say hurtful things to those we love… things we will quickly come to regret having said. It can make us plot the murder of our Lord and Savior; after all, every sin we commit is another blow driving the nails into His flesh and unchecked anger can drive us to commit sins in rapid succession.

Anger can also be a powerful motivator for change for the good. Anger can cause us to see a problem – to recognize an injustice – and motivate us to change it. This is not an anger that drives us to get even, but one that drives us to set things right. An anger that makes us determined that a given injustice or a given aggression will not stand and that justice must be restored.

Let us pray always for the wisdom of Christ when dealing with our own anger. Our Lord did not lash out unjustly and Our Lord does not seek gratification from the punishment of those who make Him angry. He seeks justice and the restoration of what is right; we, who desire to live according to the model Christ sets for us, can allow ourselves to seek no less. Anger for the sake of anger will become a wedge and is an offense against the Fifth Commandment, while anger controlled by reason for the sake of God’s righteousness will lead us closer to Our Lord… and this is how we learn to turn the other cheek.

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