Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – A – February 19, 2017
Love Your Enemies
Wow! Are you serious, Jesus? Yes, he is. Of all the biblical imperatives we've received, this one command defines the nature of our Christian walk. The true disciple at least tries to reach out to enemies, even if that outreach is a mere matter of prayer. We might not be able to change an enemy, but we can at least maintain our integrity as followers of the Christ.
FIRST READING Leviticus 19 is known as the Holiness Codes. This chapter invokes the name of YHWH more times than any other chapter in the Bible. At the heart of the Holiness Codes stands one verse: love your neighbor as yourself.
PSALM Psalm 103 represented the Jewish notion of blessing. Instead of asking for blessings from God (a form of petition), the psalmist blessed God (as a form of praise). For the Jew, blessing and praise are indistinguishable.
SECOND READING St. Paul wrote his audience in Corinth an implicit, but simple question, “Where does God live?” For ancient people, the gods lived in their temples. So, Paul said the community was God's Temple. God lived in the assembly. The divine presence demands an end to divisiveness and back-biting. It demands a unity of worship and purpose.
GOSPEL In Matthew 5, Jesus taught the virtue of justice, not the retributive justice of the world, but the justice of charity that the Kingdom demands.
DAILY READINGS for the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time.
CHILDREN'S READINGS In the story for the first reading, James and Fred were proud, but the focus of their pride was different. James has proud in his team and his teammates. Fred was proud in himself to the point of bragging. If we are proud, we are to be proud in God, not in ourselves. In the story for the gospel, John and Doug had a tenuous relationship. They were brothers but they were different and were not friends. But, one rainy, their relationship changed when one brother reached out to the other. Our enemies can be our friends if we reach out to them, just as Jesus told us to.
CATECHISM LINK In this week's Catechism Link, we discuss free will and conscience.
FAMILY ACTIVITY “Love your enemies.” This is easy to say, hard to do. Share Matthew 5:43-48 and discuss ways to love other your family member find difficult to love.