Theme: BE PERFECT JUST AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
- Leviticus 19:1-2. 17-18;
- Psalm 102 (103): 1-4. 8. 10. 12-13. R/ v. 8;
- 1 Corinthians 3:16-23;
- Matthew 5:38-48
1. Today is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The gospel today tells us to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect, that is, to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, just as our heavenly Father makes the sun rise on the good men as well as the bad men and makes the rain fall on honest people and dishonest people alike! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“You have learnt how it was said: you must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. …. You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5: 43-45. 48; SM)
Some of us may think that to be perfect means to have no sins, but to have no sins is not good enough, we must also love. In fact, not to love is to commit the sin of omission!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to be holy just as God is holy, that is, we are not to bear hatred against our brother. We are not to take revenge or to bear a grudge against our neighbor. And we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.
You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. …. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Lv 19: 2. 17-18; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“The Lord is compassion and love.” (Ps 102 (103): 8; SM)
And thus the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm from which the response is taken. The third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm are a commentary on the response of the responsorial psalm. (NJBC) Thus the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm:
“The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.
As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.” (Ps 102 (103): 8. 10. 12-13; SM)
4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us.
The second reading tells us that the Corinthians were divided. Some said they belonged to Paul, some said they belonged to Apollos, and some said they belonged to Peter (Cephas).
But Paul told them that they did not belong to Paul, Apollos or Peter. But on the contrary, Paul, Apollos and Peter belonged to them as their servants, and they, the Corinthians, belonged to Christ and Christ belonged to God. Thus we read in the second reading:
“Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.” (1 Co 3: 22-23; SM)
5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will help us be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, that is, to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.
The Holy Spirit will help us to be holy as God is holy, that is, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
The Holy Spirit will help us to be united in love as one community in Jesus Christ and in God our Father! Amen!
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