Saturday 4th March 2023. Readings: Deuteronomy 26:16-19, Ps. 119:1-2,4-5,7-8, Matthew 5:43-48 “…So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

Yesterday, we titled our reflection, “Let Go and Let God”. Jesus says we should seek reconciliation with our fellow humans before offering our gifts at the altar, and that we shouldn’t be angry with others, insult them or call anyone a fool.

Today, Jesus takes a step further to say that we should be perfect because we serve a perfect God. Of course, children must resemble their fathers. And since is our Father, we who claim to be His children must reflect His perfection in us.

And how do we do this? By loving our enemies, by praying for those who persecute us, by letting our rain (goodness) fall on both our friends and our foes alike, by letting our sun (warmth, love, concern) shine on both our friends and our foes, by greeting everyone including those who do not respond to our greeting.

To be perfect is to have a heart so clean that it gives no room for hatred; a heart so sweet that it is never bitter at anyone; a heart so holy that it never contemplates evil against anyone.

Can you change your feelings toward your enemies? What if you decide no longer to talk about them in a negative light? What if decide to remember only those good things they did to you and not the painful ones? What if you start praying for their conversion and deliverance rather than for God to destroy them?

You cannot wish good for someone and still hate the person at the same time. If you really wish good for your enemies, your bitterness towards them will clear off. And guess what? Whatever you wish for others is exactly what comes your way.

In today’s first reading, we hear Moses saying to us: “you have declared this day to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes and ordinances, to obey His voice and the Lord has declared that you are a people of His own possession, that He will set you high above all nations, you shall be a people holy to the Lord.”

What does it mean to be holy to the Lord? It is to be “set apart” that is, to be different from the rest of the world. If the people of the world believe strongly in the principle of “an eye for an eye”, we who are different should practice the opposite.

We should return blessings for curses, food items for stones, and good deeds for harsh treatment. When we are slapped on one cheek, we turn the other; meaning we should continue being good. This is the essence of our difference (holiness) from the rest of the world.

Is there even any reward for loving our enemies? We are free from bitterness, we sleep peacefully at night, food tastes better, our minds function better, we receive new inspirations and as Moses says, God sets us high above all nations; meaning that we attract good things in our lives. 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, teach me to love my enemies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of the 1st week of Lent, Bible Study: Deuteronomy 26:16-19, Ps. 119:1-2,4-5,7-8, Matthew 5:43-48).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu