Marg Gobius, Leader of School Evangelisation at MacKillop College, joins us to present our Gospel reflections for the next few days.

Today, as we celebrated the memorial of St Anthony of Padua, Marg reads from the Gospel of Matthew (5: 20-26) in which Jesus says ‘If you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering’.

Marg notes the Gospel today continues explores Jesus’ teaching from the sermon on the Mount. Yesterday we heard Jesus said “I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it”, and now he goes into exploring more deeply what this looks like.

Marg suggests Jesus is saying to us, don’t just rest on your laurels saying “…well I have never killed anyone, so I am good”. He is reminding us to look deeper into our attitudes… not just our actions, but with what we say and even with what we think. Not only is it a reminder that our words can be incredibly hurtful, but even our angry and disrespectful thoughts of others are sinful.

St Anthony of Padua was a Franciscan Friar who was best known for his sermons and the fact that he “lived” what he taught in response to the Gospels. The approach he is said to have taken was to not call people out on their poor behaviour, but to present the beauty of Christianity and the message of reconciliation with a loving Father.

In reflecting on today’s Gospel, I imagine that he may have reminded us that even Paul, who on the Road to Damascus was “breathing threats and murderous intentions against the disciples”, was eventually used by God to be one of his most faithful missionaries of His Good news.

Paul went on to challenge each of us to turn our thoughts away from anger, bitterness and hurt, to better things when he says in his letter to the Philippians, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”.

So, Marg invites us to ask St Anthony today to pray for each of us, that we allow the example of Jesus and the direction of the Holy Spirit to lead us to find goodness in even the most difficult of situations.