Reflection for 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time (18th & 19th Feb 2023)
First reading: Leviticus 19:1-2,17-18
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
This weekend reading theme is ‘The Lord is compassion and love’.
In the world where we live, we are frequently brought up to take care for ourselves. Being in the midst of society where wisdom lies on those who are able to care themselves well, knowingly and acting as what the world perceived as ‘street smart’, has led us to believe that this is how we live our lives. These, could come across as making full use of opportunities to garner for oneself the best of what the world offers. Being reciprocal to how others treat us and how we treat them in return is somehow acceptable in today’s society or perhaps even in the past. Love those who treat us right but hate those who do not get along with us, hatred for our enemies and taking revenge and feeling resentful to those who have hurt or mistreated us are just some of the examples of how we were told is normal.
In the first reading from Leviticus, the Lord says “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy”. The Lord continues to tell us to love our neighbour as we love yourself. This is contradictory to what we have been taught all these whiles, with regard to how we should treat others. The emphasises on the importance of loving our neighbours laid on the fact that, by treating or helping others, the gain is not just for others, but on ourselves as well. We failed to see that as by loving our neighbours, we learn to open up our hearts to experience God’s love even more when we act upon it and that love flows from us to others only through actions.
In the second reading, St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians emphasised that we belong to Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and our bodies are the temple of God, therefore we should stay holy. St Paul also reminded us that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. What the world’s wisdom we perceived as standards to follow, is just not impressive in God’s eyes.
Christ today in the Gospel reading of Luke, invites us as the followers of Christ to be different. Jesus said ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven’. Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, in sacredness too, we are called to be holy. Holiness cannot mix with sin for God is holy. God also calls us to be sincere in the way we treat others well. That’s why when Christ said ‘..if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.’. We do not just treat others or our neighbours equally, despite them not being related to us. For the sincerity to offer and give, is what God seeks in our hearts accompanied by the actions we do.
To follow this teaching of Christ, means to offer ourselves or what we have, to the best of our capability, and that calls for transformation. The change in the way we perceived situations always start with the heart, mind and soul to allow God to transform us to be more Christ-like. Our knowledge, understanding and wisdom should come only from the Holy Spirit that dwells in us, then only will we be able to comprehend God’s love for human whether good or bad alike, hence the invitation to salvation and eternal life is given to all.
Christ through His death on the cross has established that God’s fatherly love is unconditional, and flows for everyone who accept His invitation to come into their lives. God’s compassion and love is profound.
My dear brothers and sisters, since God has always been granting unconditional graces for all of us in Christ, through this weekend missal readings, He reminds us again today to join with Him in the mission to share the Good News to others of the Lord’s compassion and love for humanity. Let God’s compassion and love transform us to be more loving towards our neighbours in all our thoughts and actions.