FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
First Saturday of Lent, March 16, 2019
WORD of the DAY
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, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5: 43-48)
How shall I live this Word?
‘Perfection’ in the Gospel of Matthew is obedience to the Law brought to the extreme consequences, that is, to enter into the depths of the word of God to the point of drawing from it the revolutionary essence which is its specificity. In fact there is no contrast between what Jesus says and what the Law says, but Jesus has shown its fullness, and instead of showing an application – as if His doctrine was a codicil placed in the appendix of that Law – He revealed a more intimate spirit, which is to transcend itself in order to rise towards absolute goodness. Therefore, if the Law had tried to embrace the broad spectrum of human conditions as much as possible, through a list of rules that can be distributed in the various contingencies of life, Jesus offered a clear and admirable synthesis: He reaches the heart of the world and of humanity indicating that at the center of everything there is, perpetually on fire and fed by an irrepressible force, the mystery of love. In fact, those who do not love do not live. But those who want to live fully must let themselves be consumed by this force, must let the fire of love burn without being controlled by any law.
Today I propose to humbly recognize that I am not the absolute master of my life. The Lord created me to magnify His power and to recognize myself in an ecosystem governed by love. I want to call my enemies by name, one by one, to recognize in everyone a gift from God, to thank the Father, who placed them before me to stem the uncontrolled power of my egoism. And, just for those persons, I will pray to the Father, to make me recognize and accept them as a brother/sister.
THE VOICE OF Gaudium et Spes
Respect and love must also extend to those who think or act differently from us in social, political, and even religious things, because with greater humanity and love we will penetrate their ways of seeing, and the easier we will be able to start a dialogue with them.
Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Via dell’Ateneo Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
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Comment by Fr. Enrico Emili