Saturday, February 19, 2011
7TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – A
7TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – A
Lv 19:1-2, 17-18 / Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13 / 1 Cor 3:16-23 / Mt
LEVITICUS 19:1-2, 17-18
Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, "Speak to the entire assembly of the
people of Israel and say to them: Be holy for I, Yahweh, your God, am
holy. Do not hate your brother in your heart; rebuke your neighbor
frankly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or
nurture a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as
yourself; I am Yahweh.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:16-23
Brothers and sisters: "Do you not know that you are God's temple, and
that God's Spirit abides within you? If anyone destroys the temple of
God, God will destroy him. God's temple is holy, and you are this
temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you considers himself
wise in the ways of the world, let him become a fool, so that he may
become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's
eyes. To this, Scripture says: God catches the wise in their own
wisdom. It also says: The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that
it is useless. Because of this, let no one become an admirer of
humans, for everything belongs to you, Paul, Apollos, Cephas – life,
death, the present and the future. Everything is yours."
Jesus said to his disciples, "You have heard that it was said: An eye
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this: do not oppose
evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and
offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give
your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go also the
second mile. Give when asked and do not turn your back on anyone who
wants to borrow from you, the wicked and the good, and he gives rain
to both the just and the unjust. "If you love those who love you, what
is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if
you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about
that? Do not even the pagans do as much? For your part you shall be
righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and
perfect. You have heard that it was said: Love your neighbor and do
not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: Love your enemies, and
pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your
Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the
good, and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust. If you love
those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax
collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends,
what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much?
For your part you shall be righteous and perfect in the way your
heavenly Father is righteous and perfect."
The Gospel reading for this Sunday gives us a key passage of Jesus'
Sermon on the Mount as recorded by Matthew. Jesus is speaking to his
disciples about the type of perfection or holiness that should
characterize his followers. He had already in his sermon reminded them
that their holiness should surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.
They had been given quite a number of recommendations in the past.
"You have heard it said," he acknowledges that you should have love
for your friends and countrymen but not for your enemies. According to
what they had been told, revenge for having been affronted was quite
acceptable according to the "law" of an "eye for an eye and a tooth
for a tooth." But Jesus tells them that as his followers, more is
asked of them, a higher level of holiness or perfection. Instead of
seeking revenge, the followers of Jesus are challenged to love their
enemies! Surely this is far beyond and above the level of holiness of
the scribes and Pharisees. And to make sure that we don't miss the
point of what Jesus is trying to say, he adds as a final word: "So,
you must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect!"
It is certainly legitimate for us to wonder if what Jesus is asking of
us is at all realistic. Is it at all possible for us to be perfect as
our heavenly Father is perfect? In the next life when we enjoy the
perfection of heaven, having been purified of all sinfulness, it can
be close to possible. But it is in this life here on earth where we
have to live with enemies and with those who do us harm. It is in this
life here on earth that we seek justice in return for injuries done to
us. It is legitimate for us to wonder if Jesus is asking the
impossible of us.
The answer to that question is a "yes" and a "no." What Jesus is
proposing in his Sermon on the Mount is impossible if we rely on our
own power and strength. But perhaps that is exactly the point that
Jesus wants us to consider. Relying merely on our own power and
strength, we will not be able to surpass the holiness of the scribes
and Pharisees. We will rather live our lives according to their norms.
But with the help that God can give us, we can hope to rise above the
"holiness level" of the scribes and Pharisees. After all, we have
heard the Lord remind us that "nothing is impossible with God."
To be able to rise to the challenge of today's Gospel norm of holiness
or perfection, there are a number of things to consider. First of all,
it is important to have a real desire to grow towards the ideal Jesus
is presenting. And together with that desire to grow, it is necessary
that we be patient! The growth process is not a process of "instant
success" but rather a day-after-day, week-after-week, and year-after-
year growth process. It is a step by step process, but there can be
the realization that, as it has been said, "the journey of a thousand
miles begins with the first step." Yes, much patience will be part of
that journey because there will be moments of seeming failure. There
will be setbacks. Together, therefore, with a real desire for growth
in holiness and the patience to continue growing, there is need for
courage. And here again we have the assurance that can give us
courage. "I am always with you," says the Lord. "Do not be afraid
because I am with you!"
It is amazing that the same Jesus who asks us to follow him in a way
that may seem to be impossible, encourages us to rely on what he can
give us and do for us. Yes, without his help what he asks of us is a
"mission impossible," but with his help all things are possible. And
what is that help of his? It is his very love for us which is at the
same time a challenging love and an empowering love. Yes, the Sermon
on the Mount is a sermon to help us appreciate what our life of love
should and can be. Our life of love, loved as we are by the Lord, is
the way of holiness.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of Atty.Raymundo F. Gimena
… for the personal intentions of
- Mary W
- Cherie Torres
- Kyla A. Panganiban, Carlito Asuncion, Nobliza B. Asuncion, Carlos B.
Asuncion, Charito B. Asuncion, Carolina A. Panganiban, Alberto
Madanlo, Rommel Acero, Louie Simodlan, Divine Grace Simodlan, Andrea
Gail Simodlan, Gimena Family
- Flora B
… In Memoriam: Jesus Yap
… for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Luciano Tan
- Esperanza Castello
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Rodel Manansala
- Prayer Intention: Chua Giok Yean (Lota Chua)
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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