February 24, 2019 (readings)
- Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples, "But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I wish to open my heart and let your Gospel message penetrate me and change my life. I believe that you love me and that you died for me; yet when tested by the demands of the Gospel, my faith and generosity waiver. Nevertheless, once more I confess my faith in you and my determination to work to please you alone.
Petition: Dear Jesus, give me meekness and gentleness of heart like you.
1. Love Your Enemies. Not all of us encounter people who hate, curse and strike us. Do I have enemies? How can this part of the Gospel apply to me? Who are my enemies? We need to treat everyone in our lives with the same exquisite charity. If we were suffering under great persecution, we might say that we were ready to lay down our lives for Christ. But the “enemies” that are hardest to love are often not what we could call enemies. They are bothersome coworkers, siblings, parents or children. Sometimes the heroic virtue is in treating such persons with exquisite charity and kindness.
2. Love Those Who Love You.“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” Christ is addressing our purity of intention. What is my motivation in the things that I do every day? Is it all for Christ? If I could divide my day into minutes and chart the time I spend thinking about what I want compared to the time I spend thinking about what Christ wants, what would that chart look like? What drives me? How often do I even think about my intentions?
3. Be Merciful. Anger and impatience are often the results of a frustrated sense of injustice. This situation needs a remedy, and I am the one who will apply it! Do I struggle with anger and impatience? Do I lose my cool several times a day? Perhaps I need a little more mercy in my heart. God is so good and merciful to us. How is my heart? Do I demand justice of everyone else while ignoring the “plank” in my eye? Mercy could be the secret way to more peace and serenity in my life.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you have been so good to me, even at the many times in my life when I have been intolerably demanding on others. Rid my heart of hatred and grudges. Let me forgive past offenses—even when the offender has never asked for pardon, even when the offender rejoices in the offense committed against me. You forgave your torturers from the cross. Help me do the same with mine.
Resolution: I will spend five minutes today looking inside my heart to see if there is somebody against whom I hold a grudge or hatred, and I will forgive them.
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