Sunday, February 23, 2020

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

In other years: Saint Polycarp (-155)

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 18:12-19
Mass: Lev 19:1-2, 17-18; Resp Ps 103; 1 Cor 3:16-23; Mt 5:38-48

Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.

Today let us choose love. Let us accept the challenge of Jesus, the challenge of charity. Then we will be true Christians and our world will be more human.
(Pope Francis, homily, Bari, Italy, February 23, 2020)

Our trilogy of readings for today's celebration of the Eucharist begins with the Lord speaking to Moses: Be holy, for I, the Lord, you God, am holy (Lev 19:2), and ends with Jesus saying to His disciples: So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Each and every one of us is holy, "for the temple of God" which each and every one of us is, "is holy" (1 Cor 3:16-17). How about we surprise some folks this week, especially as we prepare for the Lenten season (Ash Wednesday is coming soon), and be about building up and not destroying the temple of God which each and every one of us is. The surprises come in how we go about it: Bear no hatred for your brother or sister in your heart (Lv 19:17); take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people (Lv 19:18); offer no resistance to one who is evil (Mt 5:39); go the extra mile and expect nothing in return, or, just say no to "you owe me" (Mt 5:41-42); love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mt 5:44). We are called to take the high road-to keep the words of Our Lord before us at all times: Your heavenly Father makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust (Mt 5:45). For if we only love those who love us, what recompense will we have? (Mt 5:46).

Instead of shutting off your affections from your enemies, you will do good to those who hate you, you will pray for those who persecute and slander you, you will strive to be peaceful even with those who hate peace. Then the width, height and beauty of your soul will be the width, height and beauty of heaven itself.
(Bernard of Clairvaux)

© Gertrude Feick 2020

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