February 20, Sunday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13,22-13; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 & Luke 6:27-38
Today’s readings have a common theme: the power of Christian love is unconditional forgiveness.
In the first reading, David showed respect for God's chosen monarch by forgiving his crimes, whereas Saul kept making bad decisions, prolonging his agony with a vengeance. David's sense of justice, forgiveness, and reverence for divine authority enabled him to avoid the revenge expected of him. David is a model for us of Christ. If he can forgive his mortal adversary, then we can too.
In the second reading, St. Paul describes how the "First Adam" chose disobedience, bringing death into the world, whereas Jesus, the "Second Adam," chose obedience, rescuing the planet. By being baptized, Paul reminds his disciples that they partake in Jesus' spiritual nature as the "last Adam." So we Christians must rise above our natural urge for vengeance and retaliation.
In the Gospel account, Jesus teaches, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Several specific commandments amplify this Golden Rule: "Love your foes; those who despise you should be blessed and prayed for." For Jesus, love means seeking another's good. Love our adversaries and be merciful as God, our Father is. Like God, Jesus pushes us to help others. "Be compassionate like your father." Forgiveness is his final instruction.
The quality of grace allows us to treat people not as they deserve but with love, kindness, and mercy. Our love for others, especially those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must reflect God's benevolence and compassion. When we pray for those who wrong us, we release the power of love and shatter the power of hate.
How can we love those who hurt us? Faith and the Holy Spirit bring God's strength and grace. His love conquers our fears. The cross of Jesus Christ can release us from malice, rage, wrath, and resentment.
Forgiving others is not an easy thing, but it is not an impossible thing to do. The readings remind us that we should ask God’s blessing to strengthen our forgiveness. At every Mass, we pray to the "Our Father," asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. Our challenge is to conquer our innate hatred. To overcome this obstacle, we must pray to God for forgiveness. We must all ask ourselves: Do I have an adversary in my life? Only forgiveness genuinely cures us. Remembering God's forgiveness helps us forgive others. "Forgive, and you will be forgiven," Jesus says to those who have wronged us.
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