Mass Readings: Leviticus 19-1-2,17-18/1 Corinthians 3:16-23/Matthew 5:38-48

Upping the Ante

Jesus is all about showing us the heart of the law. He famously taught that the two greatest commandments were to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. Today He shows the fullness of what that means: insisting that “neighbor” is a word that encompasses everybody, including our enemies. He even provides graphic illustrations of how that’s supposed to look, featuring face slaps and forced marches (something his countrymen recognized from their treatment at the hands of Roman troops).

His insistence was that our love, like God’s love, not be helplessly dependent on how others treat us, but that it take charge of the situation and bless even our foes. That’s hard, not because it’s weak, but because it requires the strength of God to do.

Prayer: Father, help me love not just those who love me, but those who hate me.