Faith Daily | 12 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 482
O Lord, who for our sake fasted forty days and forty nights:
give us grace to use such abstinence,
that, our flesh being subdued to the spirit,
we may ever obey your godly will
in righteousness and true holiness;
to your honour and glory,
who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 5: 43-48
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Angela Back
‘Love your enemies’, these are challenging words, particularly in light of the events of the last two weeks. They overthrow the social niceties and draw us into deeper waters. I have heard that the ‘narrow gate’ that few find is indeed this loving of enemies. It is radically counter cultural.
So I have been asking myself, what is it about enemies? Yes, fear is the word that comes to mind. But suffering is its shadow. And suffering, ourselves’ and others,’ draws out compassion, and this leads to and is supported by the God of compassion who suffers with us. I feel I am on safer ground with compassion.
If we know the God who makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust alike, we from that stance can gaze more thoughtfully, more sadly, at the pain of the world. Which of course does not answer any of our questions about the horror inflicted by some enemies. It does however draw me, personally, to want the ‘pure heart’ of the Beatitudes needed to engage with the complexity of the world and to hold it up to God, the pain of friends and enemies alike. It means giving up my right to judge others and also begging for God’s justice to be done. This stance it seems is found only in being close to God. All the time? Well as much as possible. And makes me more able to deal with my enemies. Not always perfectly, of course. Only God is perfect. I will settle for aiming for a pure heart. And He lives to make intercession for me, for us all.
Give my lamp such a share of Your light, my Jesus, I pray, that its brightness may reveal to me the Holy of Holies, where You the eternal Priest of all eternity enter the portals of Your great temple, so that I may always gaze at, behold and desire only You. May I love and contemplate You alone, and may my lamp ever burn and shine before You. Amen.
(Columbanus, Celtic missionary of Europe, sixth and seventh centuries, who knew a lot about social unrest, political connivance and speaking truth to power.)