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Friday, February 26, 2021

Reflection 2021-02-27 Saturday Week 1 in Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:43-48
The Readings today show how much God loves us. In the First Reading, he agrees to be the God of Israel if they walk in his ways, keep his statutes and commandments and ordinances AND more importantly, to obey him. God wants to be our God but there are conditions to it. When we obey him, the only result is he will set you high above all nations that he has made, in praise and in fame and in honor, and for you to be a people holy to the Lord your God as he promised. God calls us to himself and his plan is to lift us up and make us holy. Holiness is God’s work because this happens when we obey him. It may be difficult to obey him, but God will not lack in giving us what we need if we have that desire to obey him.
God’s blessing is for everyone, even for our enemies. Which is why God tells us to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. And he gives us a reason why we do it: So that you may be children of your Father in heaven. God wants us to be his holy people so this is what we are to do. When we do this, then we are obeying him and loving our neighbor. Jesus ends this discourse by saying: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
There is no disagreement about what God said. But there is disagreement on what love is, because that word is thrown around a lot today, and most of the time, when we ask people who use that word, they will not be able to define it. Love is not based on an emotion. This is why Jesus said love your enemies. We are not to like our enemies, but we are to love them. Love is to desire the best for them. It is going outside ourselves and giving to others, in this case, our enemies. This does not mean we allow them to bully us, but it means that we go beyond our emotions and decide to love them. One sure way of knowing if we love our enemies is when we pray for them, that the Lord will immensely bless them.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what they have done. Forgiveness is admitting harm was done and not demanding restitution for the harm done. It is forgiving a debt owed to us.
God loves the good and the evil. He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. It is his will that they also will be saved and while it is not ours to judge the hearts of others, we can judge the actions.
Lord, help me to love my enemies. Bless those who hurt me. Bless those who have betrayed my trust. I forgive them Lord. I release them from the justice that I believe is mine. I surrender this hurt to you Lord. Heal me.

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