Today’s Thoughts: “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” A simple refrain we encounter from time to time in responsorial psalms at mass might be a key to understanding and living out Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:43-48). To love one’s enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, we first must realize that we too are sinners; we too have hurt others and at times made life difficult for others.
There are no perfect people out there in the world, no one can claim perfection, thus if we wish mercy and forgiveness we need to be willing to offer it too. Now I am not saying it is easy, if it were Jesus would never have included it in his teaching and I would not be writing about it this morning. Living a life of faith is often difficult and always challenging.
Perhaps the key to making it work is prayer. If our first response to a challenge, to a difficulty, to a struggle is prayer rather than anger, resentment, and judgment then we have the chance to imperfectly live the Gospel message.
Today’s Gospel is not about excusing offensive acts or being lenient with people who hurt us. It is not about looking the other way and letting people just do what they want. Today’s Gospel is about how we trust in the presence of God as we live in the midst of an imperfect world. It is about how we react to people and situations that hurt us. Do we seek vengeance, do we expect to extract our pound of flesh or do we pause and through prayer place the person, the situation in God’s hands?
Prayer can be a way of offering another Christian love. It can be a way of seeking mercy and forgiveness and also offering mercy and forgiveness. Prayer is not going to make our world perfect but it can be a starting point for us becoming the people of faith that Jesus asks us to be today!
Have a great Tuesday everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...