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Let’s celebrate our identity and live by it!

Background Music: Panalangin by Mark Anthony Cuevas
    Voiced by: Arlene Donarber

February 24, Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Daily Readings: Deuteronomy 26:16–19, Matthew 5:43–48

The people of Israel have an identity to celebrate and live by. They are a chosen race. God chose the Israelites above all others in the world, considering them His treasure and holy people. This is an ideal situation, but its consequences are also equally significant. They have fallen short of this ideal time and again. It is acceptable to do so, provided they decide to return and walk in God's ways, to keep His statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and to obey Him. That is the agreement between God and His people. The relationship is covenantal. This vertical dimension is incomplete without the horizontal dimension.

The Gospel reading concentrates on the horizontal dimension, namely on our neighbors: “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." As part of the Sermon on the Mountain, Jesus teaches the people gathered a valuable lesson on loving one’s neighbor. The Jewish people considered one's family members as neighbors, and therefore they kept the others outside their circle of love. This is also what the tax collectors and the Gentiles were doing.

God’s chosen race cannot behave like them. Already in Matthew 5:20, Jesus said that their righteousness should exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees. He comes up with a formula for holiness: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). God, who sent His only Son into the world, serves as the model for our piety and religiosity. Forgiving one’s enemies and praying for the persecutors has to become a daily task. It is a challenging task. In a world that is so intolerant in terms of religion and culture, it is a challenging task.

Call to Action for Catholic Living: The love of God finds its fulfillment in the love of neighbors. One without the other is incomplete. It is easy to love God, but to love a neighbor with whom we have difficulties allows us to become better humans. How do I see it?


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.