for Sunday, February 19, 2017
The First Letter to the Corinthians, from which our second reading today is taken, tells us: "You are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you." If we can understand this reality today, our lives will be changed and transformed.
Jesus gives us strong teachings so that we can truly be children of God. It is never enough that Jesus loves us. We must respond to that love, however imperfectly we respond. The love of Jesus for us is a love that is inviting our response each day and inviting us to be transformed and changed forever.
The first reading today is from the Book of Leviticus. This reading tells us to be holy because God is holy. More than that, the reading tells us what it means to be holy: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Far too often we forget that holiness is fairly simple: Love for God and love for our neighbor. We try to make ourselves holy in lots of ways, often with prayers and good practices. That is fine. What God wants is a heart and actions that love Him and love everyone else who comes into our lives.
The second reading tells us again that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. If we belong to the Holy Spirit, then there are ways of acting that are good for the temple and ways of acting that can destroy the temple. The only way to live is to be wise in the ways of this God who loves us!
Matthew's Gospel today teaches us the wisdom of Jesus Christ: don't resist evil, turn the other cheek, give more than is asked and love your enemies. This is the way to live God's mystery here on earth. If we want to be perfect, then we must follow the example of our heavenly Father.
The example of our heavenly Father is always this: love. Love is for everyone and without conditions. Love is especially for those who hate us. Love is for all and is what brings about the Kingdom of God. This is love is not a love that feels good about others but is rather a love that chooses the good of others consistently. This is a strong love that can transform us personally and can transform the whole world.
It is not easy to love as God loves! This form of loving will demand all of our energy and all of strength in our lives. Yes it will draw us completely into God and into the Kingdom. May we have the wisdom to love this way.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Leviticus 19.1-2, 17-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3.16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5.38-48
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: