February 19, 2011

7th Sunday - A

Matthew 5: 38-48

Me: Not Enough; Us: Still Not Enough; It's Everybody

The two laws that Jesus mentions in this passage (an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and love your neighbor and hate your enemy) were meant to preserve the community. The first law set a limit on disputes and vengence within the community. The second law "made sure that the community protected itself against its enemies," especially for a nomad population [1].

The old laws, which the disciples "have heard," were for the benefit and survival of the community.

The new law that Jesus now teaches challenges the disciples to go beyond the interests of their community. It is a call to "universal love."

Jesus teaches and lives this new law of universal love. He came, preached, healed, and ultimately suffered the cross and died to save all people out of love.

That was how Jesus revealed to us what he taught: that "God is love."

As disciples of Jesus and "children of [our] heavenly Father" through our baptism, we are called and empowered to share in this mission. Jesus invites his followers to love as much as God loves. "Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." When we love others, we both reflect and bring God to the world.

This noble vocation is greater a challenge when, so often, we are tempted to care only for self-preservation and personal gains. Many a times, we do not even think of the interests of the community.

Yet, as "children of the heavenly Father," our love cannot stop there.

God's love has no limits.

[1] Francis J. Moloney. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year A. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1992; p. 142.

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