Gospel Reflection – Saturday 1st Week of Lent (12 March 2022) – Love your enemies
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (5: 43-48) where Jesus says to His disciples to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’.
Fr Paul says that today’s Gospel contains the last of the six contrasts which were mentioned in an earlier Gospel and mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount. Like the first contrast, this last one is also about love. Here Jesus is teaching us that we must love all people unreservedly. He likens it to the sun or the rain, when the sun shines it shines on everybody, when it rains, it rains on everybody. Jesus is challenging us that when we love, it too must be everybody; good, bad, honest and dishonest. We must love.
Fr Paul says that this stands sharply in the face of what we would naturally be inclined to do. The teaching here is that the Christian is the one who can and must initiate the breakdown of any opposition or hostility.
Further by starting and finishing these contrasts of the Sermon on the Mount with love, it seems that all six have love as a common factor.
Lastly, the Gospel ends with a staggering demand to be perfect just as God is perfect. This demand is made only one other time in the scriptures and it is made of the rich, young man.
As our Lenten Journey continues, Fr Paul says that we will see and experience just how perfect our Lord’s love is because that perfect love is shown to us by Jesus on the cross.