“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.”
We live in a society where name-calling and ridicule have been lifted up as perfectly acceptable.
Bullying seems to be in fashion.
This type of behavior appeals to the lowest level of consciousness in humans to separate everything into a binary.
It’s the land of either–or.
It’s either this or that.
It’s either right or wrong.
Sometimes this is true.
But certainly not always.
To the person operating out of ego consciousness, it feels great to be with the “right” group because you are superior to the “wrong” group, which of course is never your group!
Perhaps as a society we had to see just how ugly this kind of dualistic thinking is before we could change.
In today’s scripture, Jesus raised demeaning name-calling to the level of killing.
That’s because murder usually rises out of anger.
Without anger, there is little likelihood of killing.
The word “raqa” is an Aramaic word likely meaning imbecile or blockhead.
When you label people with derogatory names it often dehumanizes them.
It demonizes them (and is therefore profoundly not “pro-life”).
Many genocides began with such name-calling.
Over time it can lead people into very unconscious behavior such as killing the people who, after all, are so evil that God must not like them either.
Such is the delusional spiral that can lead people to do all sorts of atrocities in the name of God.
Jesus likens such unrighteous anger to throwing your life into an unquenchable fire.
That’s because you are separating yourself from another child of God.
You are breaking the Sacred Unity of all things, which St. Paul equated to “the body of Christ.”
When you live as though we are not one body, you are living in delusion.
(This is sin.)
The gospel teaches us that each of us must engage in the struggle to restore unity.
How else will God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven? (Matthew 6:10)
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Remember: God loves you!