Let us trust God to help us return His love and to love one another
Reflections on the readings for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 23, 2020): LV 19:1-2,17-18; PS 103:1-2,3-4,8,10,12-13; 1 COR 3:16-23; MT 5:38-48
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
The readings for today address God’s expectations for His people.
The Old Testament verses and, especially, the Gospel urge us not to hate others or seek vengeance against them, no matter what they have done. Instead of acting with violence or holding grudges, we are urged to love our neighbor as ourselves. And St. Paul encourages us to choose the true wisdom of God, not the faulty understanding of humankind. Because Almighty God made us to be in His image, He wants us to see one another with His vision and treat each other accordingly – with charity, kindness and respect. And, because He knows and cares about us, God is always ready to forgive us when we fail as long as we turn back to Him and seek His mercy. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:12-13).
When Jesus told His disciples to be perfect, it sounds like He was demanding the impossible. How can human beings always be good and holy? But He was asking them to give themselves over completely to the love and mercy of God. Christ wants all who follow Him to open their souls to His grace, and devote themselves to His service. And this means recognizing the beautiful image of God in everyone we meet – even when our human nature shows us someone we would tend to ignore or even despise. This is the daily task of a Christian: to love and, when we fail, to ask our Lord’s forgiveness and try, try again.
Suggested missionary action: Let us prepare ourselves for Lent by examining our conscience and going to confession. Let us also examine the way we live each day and how we can grow closer to our Lord and to our sisters and brothers.