SATURDAY 1ST WEEK
Director of the Office of Social Justice
Forgive and … Embrace?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you”
Matthew 5: 44
Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew offers quite the challenge to each of us, and as it is pointed out, one that is counter to how many of us live. It’s inevitable that over the course of our lifetimes we will be wronged by others (just as we will inevitably do wrong to others), and what we've been taught is to ‘forgive and forget.’ Often, it’s not the event or situation that we forget, it’s those involved; we work to write those individuals out of our lives completely. But in today’s Gospel reading, we are reminded of our call to love people more fully, regardless of situation or circumstance. The very people we are challenged by most – those who we find hardest to care about – are those we must embrace closer. Maybe it’s those who have hurt us in the past, maybe it’s a college roommate with whom we aren't necessarily compatible, or maybe it’s those who we find in the fringes of our society. To embrace them means to embrace Christ’s call to love.
Loving as Christ did isn't simply done by recognizing Christ in ourselves and sharing it, it is also done by recognizing Christ in those individuals and situations around us. As we stay attentive to His presence in our lives and the lives of others with much prayer and much persistence, our hearts and our world will be filled with more love and less hate and apathy.
God of love and God of peace, we pray that you may guide us
in our discipleship of love. Help us see your face, your hands, and your heart in those around us, and lead us to lives where your love can show through our thoughts,
our actions, and our words, even when it is most challenging. Amen.
Dt: 26: 16-19, Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8, Mt 5: 43-48