“Love your enemies” may be one of the toughest teachings of Jesus. Sometimes to seek the best in those who are opposed to us is possible only through the grace of God. If that’s the case, then today is a good day to pray for that grace!
A couple of major themes surface in our readings this week:
1st Reading – Be holy, and love your neighbor as yourself
Psalm – “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
2nd Reading – You are the temple of God, which is holy
Gospel – Love your neighbor…and your enemy!
In the first reading and Psalm we see the Lord’s command to love one another. This might catch some people by surprise; after all, the Old Testament is filled with examples where the people of God are anything but loving to those they encounter! Point: love of neighbor is a clear commandment of God.
The Gospel of Matthew sets the bar higher as Jesus builds on this command and calls us to conversion. We are not only called to love our neighbors and family, but we are also called to love our enemies and persecutors! Like last week, Jesus takes the commandments of the Old Testament and moves far beyond them. We are called to love with our whole heart…loving one another the way God loves us.
The second reading goes in a different direction. We hear from St. Paul that our bodies are temples of the living God, and as such we encounter the Spirit of God in the person of everyone we meet.
A consideration for today: put the love of God into practice! We are cherished, treasured, forgiven and esteemed by the Lord – who loves us even on our worst days. Following this example we can act accordingly…loving those around us with the love of Jesus Christ.