One Minute Reflection – 23 February – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18, Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13, 1 Corinthians 3:16-23, Matthew 5:38-48
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” … Matthew 5:44
REFLECTION – “But what do his words mean? Why does Jesus ask us to love precisely our enemies, that is, a love which exceeds human capacities?
Actually, Christ’s proposal is realistic, because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice and, therefore, that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness. This “more” comes from God, it is His mercy which was made flesh in Jesus and which alone can “tip the balance” of the world from evil to good, starting with that small and decisive “world” which is the human heart.
This Gospel passage is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian non-violence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil, as a false interpretation of “turning the other cheek” (cf. Lk 6: 29) claims but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom 12: 17-21) and thereby breaking the chain of injustice.
One then understands that for Christians, non-violence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that, he is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.
… Here is the newness of the Gospel which silently changes the world! Here is the heroism of the “lowly” who believe in God’s love and spread it, even at the cost of their lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, Lent, which will begin this Wednesday with the Rite of Ashes, is the favourable season in which all Christians are asked to convert ever more deeply to Christ’s love.
Let us ask the Virgin Mary, docile disciple of the Redeemer, who helps us to allow ourselves to be won over without reserve by that love, to learn to love as He loved us, to be merciful as Our Father in Heaven is merciful (cf. Lk 6: 36).” … Pope Benedict XVI – Angelus, St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 18 February 2007
PRAYER – O Lord my God, give me the strength to endure with patience the sufferings I encounter in my life. Teach me to do my daily work for You alone and to do more than that in every way I can, for your greater glory. Teach me, Holy Father, to obey the words of Your Son, to pray for those who persecute me and to suffer for the glory of the Kingdom. May our Blessed and loving Mother, who had to bear the pain and forgive those who killed her Son, be at our side to help us to forgive, to pray for our enemies and offer our pain in reparation for our sins and those of the world. Amen