Saturday, February 20th – Mitzi Court
Gospel Reading: MT 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Here at Mount Carmel, we start every class together with a prayer, and lift up the special intentions on our hearts. We pray for our families, we pray for our friends, for those closest to us. We pray for ourselves. But this Lent, I am realizing that our faith is calling us to something much deeper than this. The world we live in encourages the idea that we should love our friends and family. It’s safe and comfortable to support those that support us. The world doesn’t expect us to love those who act like jerks. Society doesn’t ask us to be considerate of the needs of someone who doesn’t take our needs into account. In fact, the TV we watch and the music we listen to tells us that it is okay to be self-centered, to focus on our needs and our emotions. And as a result, when we show love to those who are hardest to love, people are often surprised by our actions. They question our reason why.
I can’t imagine a more powerful daily opportunity to show others how life-changing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ truly is, and how significant the impact of Christ’s love is in the lives of his followers, then to love our enemies with commitment and passion. So this Lent, let’s commit to changing the way we pray. Instead of praying for peace when we are hurt, or patience when someone tests our will, instead of offering up the needs of those we love, lets focus on the needs of those who have hurt us. Lets focus on the needs of those who persecute us. And in doing so, when we find our peace, we’ll be reminded of the depth of the Lord’s love. We’ll be a witness, not just to others, but to ourselves, of the game-changer that a personal relationship with Christ truly is.
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