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FEB. 27. LENT. WK. 1. SAT. MT. 5. 43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’


The central aim of this reading is to reveal the mind of God; - and the simple truth he loves all of his people, even those who do not acknowledge him; - together with those who have chosen to follow a sinful way of life!


This “message” is slightly hidden, but it is made manifest, firstly in the life of Christ (who became man to redeem sinners!) and secondly in this Gospel reading where he is asking us to adopt “the mind of God”, by loving our enemies!


The key message is one of Love and Mercy which Christ articulates very clearly when he says; - love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; - in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven; - for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike!”


“In this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven” being the key phase that reveals the “mind of God”!


And, as if to emphasise this new teaching Christ then asks; - “For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not; - followed by the very simple truth that God; - “causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike!


The central point of this teaching however is Christ is inviting us to imitate this “The mind of God” by also “loving” our enemies; - those who offend us; - and those who do not follow the Christian way of life; - a teaching that is easy to understand; - but very difficult to put into practice!


The simple truth is we have a natural inclination to Love those we “like”, but we find it very difficult to love those who offend us; - or adopt “a way of life” we do not approve of!


What we forget however, in not following this teaching of Christ, is that each of us; - at our death and judgement; - will be totally dependent on this very teaching, if we are to enter into heaven; - as It has been pointed out to us that we are all sinners!


We are being warned here of the dangers of mediocrity, and of merely loving our friends, as the centrepiece of Christ’s life is his love for sinners; - and those who have rejected his teachings; - and we are being invited to do the same!


You must be perfect; - just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

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