Monday, June 16, 2014
Tuesday 11th Week in Ordinary Time
Tuesday 11th Week in Ordinary Time
1 Kg 21: 17-29 / Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 11 and 16 / Mt 5: 43-48
Reading: 1 Kg 21: 17-29
Then Yahweh spoke to Elijah of Tishbe, "Go down to meet Ahab, king of Israel, in Samaria. He is taking possession of the vineyard of Naboth. Say to him: 'Have you killed and have taken possession at the same time?' Then give him this word of mine: 'Dogs shall lick your blood in the very place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth.'" Ahab then said to Elijah, "Who, better than my enemy, could find me here and now!" Elijah answered, "I have come to you because you have done what Yahweh abhors. This is Yahweh's word: I will bring disgrace on you. I will sweep you away and cut off every male of your family, from the lowliest to the greatest. Your family will disappear like the families of Jeroboam and Baasa, because you have offended me and have dragged Israel into sin. There is ano-ther word of Yahweh to Jezebel: 'The dogs shall devour Jezebel within the territory of Jezreel.' If anyone of Ahab's line dies in the city, he shall be devoured by dogs; if in the green country, the birds of the air shall feed on him." There was no one like Ahab, urged by his wife Jezebel, in doing what Yahweh abhorred. He did horrible things and ran after unclean idols just as the Amorites had done, from whom Yahweh had taken the land to give it to Israel. On hearing these words, Ahab tore his clothes and put on sackcloth. He fasted as he lay in sackcloth and moved around despondently. Then Yahweh said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself? Because of this I will not bring about the disaster during his reign; during his son's reign disgrace will fall on his family."
Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
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 Old Testament and New Testament are very different. For the Jews, they were allowed to exact punishment on those who harmed them. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." "Stone the adulterer and the murderer." And many other such laws are found in the Book of Leviticus. But the gospel says otherwise, "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you." A bit shocking but Jesus said this. Shocking because it is humanly impossible to fulfill this word. The natural reaction of people who are unjustly treated or simply offended by others is to fight back, to retaliate. So why does Jesus give us such a hard "rule" to follow?
The answer to this question is that Jesus wants us to be happy. He knows that if we forgive our enemies, we will be happy. Why? Because our hearts were created to love others. And the highest form of love is to forgive the faults of others. So how do we do this? Let us start with people in our families. Love them, forgive the small and big slights we receive from them every day. It is also easier to forgive those who sin against us out of ignorance or stupidity and not out of malice. We must ask God to expand our hearts' capacity to love. We should also meditate on our own sins and on how much God has forgiven us. Then we might find it easier to forgive. But towards those who maliciously persecute us, Jesus invites us to understand them. This means to believe that they are either so scarred in life by previous hurts or so misguided to believe that they are right to mistreat us. We need to be very humble and aware of our own sins in order to excuse such men. Praying for them also helps us to understand them, to love them. With God's grace we might just start loving our enemies.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation
… for the eternal repose of the soul of Joel Elises
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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