Father John was born in Southampton N.Y. He served as an altar boy during his youth at the Kimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Chruch. He is a graduate of Hellenic College with a B.A. and received his Master of Divinity degree from Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA in 2012. He is supported in his ministry by his wife Abigail. He was ordained to the priesthood in August 5th, 2012 and assigned to Saint Demetrios as the assistant priest.
The Gospel of Matthew
5:21 – 26 The First Example of the New Spirit
Anger and Reconciliation
Opening thoughts and basis for discussion
- This section of the teachings of Jesus is one of the most important in the whole New Testament. In it, we see the authority Jesus speaks with. This authority is one that no other man had ever dreamed of assuming.
- One must also understand the importance the Law of Moses had in this time period and how its very overturn or rather fulfillment was completed by Jesus and His authority.
- Jesus took the highest wisdom of men and corrected it, because he was who he was, the Son of God.
The New Standard
- Startling as was Jesus’ accent of authority, the standard, which he put before men, was more startling yet.
- It was not only he who made the action of murder or adultery who was guilty. He who thought about it was equally guilty.
- Christ’s teaching is that thoughts are just as important as deeds. He is intensely concerned not solely with a person’s deeds as is the world’s view, but more so on a person’s thoughts.
The Forbidden Anger
- Jesus tells us that although the law says, “You shall not kill,” the act of killing is not the only thing that is forbidden, but the thought itself, anger itself is forbidden.
- Having hard feelings against someone is just as bad, and most times, worse than the action.
Words of Insult
- Fool or Rica or περιφρόνηση is a sin that is liable to an even more severe judgment. Not only are a person’s outward actions under judgment but also his/her inner thoughts are as well.
- “Anyone who reviles and insults, dissolves love; and when love is dissolved, all virtues are destroyed along with it.” Just as when love is present it unites to itself all the virtues. Therefore he who hurls insults tears love apart and ought to be thrown into the fire.
Work Towards Reconciliation
- “If you want happiness in time, and happiness in eternity, never leave an unreconciled quarrel or an unhealed breach between yourself and your brother man. Act immediately to remove the barriers which anger has raised.