20 February 2016
Saturday, 1st Week of Lent
Dt 26:16 – 19 / Mt 5:43 – 48.
From the 1st Reading: Dt 26:18 - 19
Today Yahweh has declared that you will be his very own people even as he had promised you, and you must obey all his commandments. He, for his part, will give you honor, renown and glory, and set you high above all the nations he has made, and you will become a nation consecrated to Yahweh, your God, as he has declared.
Gospel Reading: Mt 5: 43 – 48
Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do well 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 the 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."
Christ invites us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. The perfection here is not referring to becoming "sinless" or to being perfect without any sin, but rather in the context of the Gospel today. The perfection of God lies in the fact that God loves us even when we are His enemies.
For every time we break His commandments or go against His will, we are His enemy. And yet, God loves us all the time. And He lets His sun rise on the bad as well as on the good. It means that God loves ALL men, without exception and distinction. This kind of love is something we cannot comprehend because it is not a human love. The Lord invites us to be perfect in loving our enemies. Man, who is created in the image of God, has engraved in his innermost being the need to love in order to be fulfilled.
All the laws and commandments in fact have been summarized into two commandments: Love God and love your neighbor. This love for our enemies was made possible with the arrival of Jesus Christ, who resurrected and gave his Holy Spirit to us so that we may fulfill the commandments of God. For by sheer human effort, we cannot even fulfill any one commandment. This is important for us to realize, that even with the best intentions, without the Holy Spirit, nothing is possible. To receive this perfection of love, let us pray and ask for the Holy Spirit!
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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