TUESDAY, ELEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
1 Kgs 21: 17-29; Ps 51: 3-6, 11, 16; Mt 5: 43-48
PERFECTION: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
Today, Jesus says to us: “Be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect”. Is it possible for us to achieve this? Humanly speaking, no. But then, if Jesus has given us this exhortation, it means that he will help us in our efforts to be faithful to it as well. What is required from us is to be a little more generous. Jesus tells us: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.
We all have people in our lives who have caused us pain, and whom we find it difficult to relate with or even cultivate positive thoughts. Jesus is asking us to be generous in forgiving them and praying for them. He is asking us to go a step further than human instinct, to surpass human reasoning, sentiment and motivations, reaching out for his grace so that we may love with a selfless love as he loves us. He gives us ample opportunities to come to him and receive the required grace. There is great merit in loving those who do not love us, who do not care for us, who probably hate us.
In the first reading, we see God delayed the punishment King Ahab, guilty of injustice and the murder of Naboth, deserved, to give him time to repent. All through the Scriptures, we see how often the Israelites went against the will of God and offended him; yet he was always merciful and compassionate, giving them opportunities after opportunities to repent and return to him. How many times have we ourselves made promises to be good, to follow his will and to be faithful, only to break them again? And yet, he has ever generous with his forgiveness whenever we have asked for it. If God has forgiven us uncountable times, why is it that we find it difficult to forgive those who hurt us? May our Christian identity shine through our life of mercy and compassion.
Response: Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.
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