Saturday, February 23, 2019
7th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
February 24, 2019 - 7th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1 Sm 6:2, 7 – 9, 12 – 13, 22 – 23 / 1 Cor 15: 45 – 49 / Lk 6: 27 – 38
Gospel Reading: Lk 6: 27 – 38
Jesus said to his disciples: "But I say to you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who treat you badly.
"To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back.
"Do to others as you would have others do to you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of graciousness is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favors to those who are good to you, what graciousness is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of graciousness is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting to receive something in return.
"But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For he is kind towards the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful..
"Don't be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back."
Today's Gospel reading is at the heart of the teachings of Jesus. And it is very hard to swallow. Love your enemies! It is difficult enough to forgive them! Who of us does not feel like shouting back at somebody who shouts at us? And if somebody strikes us, are we not ready to strike him back? Do we not want to cry out, "It's not fair," unless we take our revenge? We feel the good should be protected from evil. The innocent should not have to suffer.
What is the proper response to all this anger, frustration and hurt? In today's Gospel Jesus tells us the proper response is love. We are to love without exception, even our enemies. God wants all people to live in unity and peace with one another as His children.. And the way to love in a sinful world is to be ready to forgive. For forgiveness is an act of love.
Jesus allows no compromise in this. "If you love only those who love you, what kind of graciousness is yours? Even sinners love those who love them." "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
Many of Jesus' parables tell us that unless we are merciful, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. The prayer that Jesus taught us says "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us."
Just as we must forgive others, even our enemies, we must be ready to "forgive" ourselves when we fail.
We often fail to reach the goal or ideals that we set for ourselves. We live in past guilt and hurts. Yet, God forgives and accepts us as we are and enables us to grow beyond our present sinfulness. We, too, must forgive and accept ourselves.
Forgiveness and reconciliation presuppose contrition. The sinner must turn back to God, confess his sins, and ask for forgiveness. And if the sinner is truly repentant, he will return all the ill-gotten goods..
Jesus gives us the motive for loving and forgiving. It is the fact that God loves all people steadfastly. God holds no grudges, returns good for evil, and accepts even when rejected. As Jesus says elsewhere, God makes the sun shine on the good and the bad.
It is important to remember that, even though we have sinned and rejected God by our sinfulness, God still loves us. There's no way to lose God's love. We can turn away from God, but God will never turn against us.. That is reason enough to love our enemies.
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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