11TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 2 / (Green)
Ps 146:2, 5-6ab, 6c-7, 8-9a
Praise the Lord, my soul!
1st Reading: 2 Cor 8:1-9
Now, I want you to know about a gift of divine grace among the Churches of Macedonia. While they were so afflicted and persecuted, their joy overflowed, and their extreme poverty turned into a wealth of generosity. According to their means even beyond their means—they wanted to share, in helping the saints.
They asked us for this favor, spontaneously, and with much insistence, and, far beyond anything we expected, they put themselves at the disposal of the Lord, and of us by the will of God. Accordingly, I urged Titus to complete, among you, this work of grace, since he began it with you. You excel in everything: in the gifts of faith, speech and knowledge; you feel concern for every cause and, besides, you are first in my heart. Excel, also, in this generous service.
This is not a command; I make known to you the determination of others, to check the sincerity of your fraternal concern. You know well, the generosity of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Although he was rich, he made himself poor, to make you rich, through his poverty.
Gospel: Mt 5:43-48
You have heard, that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: love your enemies; and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good; and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust.
"If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
True love does not discriminate. It accepts reality as it is without a conscious effort to change it. The transformation that takes place is not imposed or forced. It is a response to the overwhelming sense that one is loved even if it is most of the time undeserved. This is a tough commandment to follow. Most of our love is narrow and selfish. It is only reserved to those who love us in return.
This is where the commandment of Jesus displays a freshness never seen before. It invites the listener to an unconditional love that does not define the boundaries for those to be loved and those who will be excluded in that love. It simply embraces all. We must remember that we are called “catholic” which simply put, means “everybody is welcome.” Everybody will feel this welcome only from a loving heart. That is why Jesus invites us to a heart big enough to give space for all.
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
With permission from the EPISCOPAL COMMISION ON LITURGY of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
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