Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # 366:   I Kings 21:17-29. Psalm 51:3-4,5-6.11.16.
Matthew 5:43-48.

Jesus is always focused on the relationship of love that he has with his
Father. The whole Sermon on the Mount spells this out for the way he wishes
his disciples to respond to that love commandment of the Father which takes
one beyond all other forms of love and surpasses them.  The Father is said
to allow his sun to shine on both the good and the bad. This means that
God's providence is for all persons to trust in but if they do not they are
still enjoying the goodness of God in his creation of them and in what they
do experience in their lives. The hard part of today's lesson is that Jesus
tells us that such love will make us love our enemies and pray for those
who persecute us.  This interpretation of God's commandment of love can
only be understood if we enter into the mystery of who Jesus is and can be
in our lives.  Normally, we do not appreciate or love enemies nor
persecutors.  The only way to love in this way is through God's graces
given to us and the taking on of being transformed into Christ.  People
like Mother Theresa,  Albert Schweitzer, the early and modern martyrs give
us a good example of how to love others no matter whether they hate us or
persecute us.

As we come to the end of chapter five in Matthew we hear Jesus tell us, "In
a word, you must be perfected as your heavenly Father is perfect!" (Matthew
5:48). The word for perfect is used only here and once more in Matthew
19:21.  We learn that in Deuteronomy 18:13 the plural noun for perfect
means blameless; Leviticus 19:2 has "holiness."  Luke also gives us the
following: "Be merciful, therefore, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke
6:36).  These meanings can help us to understand what is implied in the
call to perfection which involves the commandment of love even for our
enemies and persecutors.  The text of our passage is very challenging but
worth our effort in studying it further, living it out with the help of
God's grace, and striving each day to put God before us in all of our
words, actions, and thoughts.  We may say that this is a transcendent form
of what we use so freely when we speak of "tough love."  Amen.