Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Deuteronomy 26:16-19 and Matthew 5:43-48
Love for Enemies.
As I reflected on this reading, I heard my mother’s voice in my head. "As Christians we should all be striving for Sainthood, but unfortunately most of us are a work in progress." Well, I openly admit to you, I most definitely am a work in progress. Sorry mom, I’m still working on it!
What is an enemy? Merriam-Webster’s simple definition of enemy is “someone who attacks or tries to harm another”. We all have people in our day-to-day lives that we have difficulties with from time to time, a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor. Do we love and pray for these people? It's easy to pray for people who love us, but not so easy to love and pray for people we have a conflict with. This reading is a reminder that we have to continue to work to be the best person that God made us to be. To follow God’s will in our lives even when it’s not easy and it feels uncomfortable.
In today reading Jesus tells us we must continue to grow in holiness, to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Not only does he tell us what we should do to be perfect in God’s eyes, he also sets for us the most perfect example. He shows us his unconditional love in action, forgiving even those who crucified him. (Luke 23:34. And Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.")
On December 8, 2015 Pope Francis declared that the universal Catholic Church is celebrating a Jubilee Year of Mercy. This Lenten season during this Year of Mercy, we should be praying that God will help us move past our reluctance and find the grace to go forth and do his will. During these 40 days, along with our Lenten sacrifices, let's also add prayer, love and mercy for our enemies.