SATURDAY, FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Deut 26: 16-19 Moses reminds his people of the covenant God has made with them and again states the conditions for their part in the covenant.
Gospel: Mt 5: 43-48 The Jesus lays down the law of the new covenant, which he will establish as a fulfillment of the old. The law is love for others, including enemies
WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR DOING GOOD?
The gospel text of today is the last of Matthew’s six antitheses. It focuses on the love of neighbour. In the Old Testament, this commandment appears in the book of Leviticus (19:18) where the context was the gathering of the people of Israel (cf. Lev 19:1). There is no command to hate one’s enemy.
Jesus encourages us to love even our enemies. He uses examples of God’s care for all creatures, and wants us to avoid restricting our love only to those who already love us or those whom we can benefit from. This is what is expected of us as disciples of Jesus. Otherwise, there is no difference between Jesus and his disciples, and the rest of humankind. When we follow Jesus and his values, we truly reveal who we are, and act as sons and daughters of the heavenly Father.
Jesus ends his discourse by telling us to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”. The word ‘perfect’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘tam’ which means the “wholeness” of God who cares for all humanity. In life, the love we have for others is most often conditional. It is mostly governed by the principle of ‘give and take’. When Jesus asks us to be like the Heavenly Father, he is calling us to a love that is unconditional. Let us do good things out of the goodness of our heart.
St Teresa of Calcutta tells us: “Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who mean nothing to you”. It is quite natural that we would fall short, time and again, in our endeavor to do good. Nevertheless, we need to rise up and keep trying, by virtue of a conscious effort, to treat people with kindness and respect. We can refrain from malice and hostility. Our power to do the same comes from God. Love comes as a grace from God who is love itself. During the season of Lent, let us keep praying for this divine gift
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 119: 1-2, 4-5, 7-8 Blessed are those who walk in the law of the Lord!
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