Faith Daily | 15 June 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p552
we beseech you to keep your family, the Church,
in continual godliness,
that through your protection
it may be free from all adversities,
and devoutly given to serve you in good works,
to the glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 5: 43 - 48
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour 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: Contributed by: Kathy Allen
Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of Matthew’s Gospel contain what has come to be called the Sermon on the Mount. They provide us with just about everything we need to know about discipleship and how to lead a Christian life. The message is clear but the challenge is difficult nonetheless. These verses are a call to action – to be perfect as God is perfect. Jesus supplies some helpful statements about loving your enemies, using the example of the much-maligned tax collector. G.K. Chesterton wrote that “the Christian Ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” Here is the essential difficulty: to expand your love to those who dislike you and to those whom you dislike. You cannot avoid enemies or the indifference of others, nor can you avoid the call to actively love them. It happens in small and large encounters.
Jesus makes it very clear in these short verses that God’s love and, therefore, His love, is there for all, the good, the bad, the rich, the poor, the loveable and the not so much. Our task is to love and not to judge let alone take ‘an eye for an eye’. This is a new interpretation of an Old Testament edit. This is about the power of love. Jesus does not say that we try to do this; He says that we must do it.
When I become cross with someone, I try to turn away from the moment long enough to calm down and look at the situation through their eyes. It can be very humbling. Trying to justify my own behaviour can take a lot of energy that could be put to better use. Who would have thought that the persistent and insistent practice of love could be so exhausting and so rewarding?
FINAL PRAYER: “Prayers Encircling the World” from Africa
enlarge my heart
that it may be big enough to receive the greatness of your love.
Stretch my heart
that it may take into it all those who with me around the world
believe in Jesus Christ.
that it may take into it all those who do not know him,
but who are my responsibility because I know him.
And stretch it
that it may take in all those who are not lovely in my eyes,
and whose hands I do not want to touch;
through Jesus Christ, my saviour.