Fr Paul reads from Matthew’s Gospel (5: 43-48) in which Jesus tells his followers to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’.
Today, Fr Paul says, we hear about the last of six standards Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount. This one, too, is about love. Jesus is teaching that we must love all people unreservedly, hence, when he explains God’s love shines or rains on both good and bad people, on honest and dishonest people.
Matthew in these six standards in the Sermon on the Mount puts unlimited love at the very beginning and at the very end. In doing this, it means love is the theme and common factor of all the six standards he gives.
We also, in this Gospel, hear Jesus making the staggering demand ‘to be perfect’.
There is only one other time when Jesus makes such a demand in the Gospels and that was when he talked to the rich young man (Matthew 21:19).
Jesus demonstrates how perfect his love is when he was hung on the Cross.
As our Lenten journey, and mindful of the Gospel today, Fr Paul invites us to challenge ourselves with the question ‘Do I love unreservedly like Jesus loves or do I place conditions on how I love those around me?’