February 19, 2023
Matthew 5: 38-48
We stand on the threshold of Lent 2023 in a world where people continually navigate local, national and global conflicts in their daily lives. The scripture readings for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time let us know precisely what the Hebrews, Jesus and St. Paul have said about conflict and our responses to it. We belong to a community that is fundamentally God, people, earth. The old law of blood and vendetta has been in place for many millennia as survival of the strongest prevails. The value system of the Hebrews always recognized Yahweh as the center of their world, more important than battles won or lost. Jesus embodied that focus on a Higher Power and St Paul very precisely tells us that no one can claim superiority over others. As we move into the Lenten season let us not become overwhelmed with the scope of the insanities around us and the crushing plight of thousands of people impacted by war, famine, climate and abject poverty. Let us concentrate on our neighbors who have attitudes and needs that trap them in cycles of loneliness and despair. Let us pay attention to the root causes of conflicts that can fester and destroy lives. How can we become a calming presence among others who need some stability in their lives. No one can really know what someone else is personally struggling with, but we can present an openness to others that is non-combative and accepting.
How will the holy ground of Lent transform you?
Matthew 5: 38-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him our cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. Do not the pagans do the same?
“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 only, what is unusual about that? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Meet Sister Maria Delaney, SNDdeN