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Faith Daily | 4 March 2023

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p482

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

‘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.


As I reflected on this Gospel passage I imagined an image of God the Father looking into the world and being overcome with compassion, as the Lord saw that misery that had overtaken the people he had created. They had turned away from God into a life of selfishness and sin. People were not being loving toward one another. So in pure love, God sent his Son Jesus, to show the way back to the Father, as Christ came to remind people how to love one another, as God loves us.

I also imagined seeing great joy in heaven as God the Father gives the Holy Spirit, the love of God poured out, to those who are being joined to Jesus through faith and baptism. Jesus taught “Be perfect…….as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5.48). And we are told that this perfection has to do with our ability to be like Jesus - to forgive our enemies and pray for them, as Jesus did. Jesus taught that we are to show our love for others as God has loved us and this unselfish and unconditional love of God, transforms from within, as it desires the best for others.

However, it is also true that people are only able to learn to love as God loves us, when they have experienced that love from others. So, as we reflect deeply upon the Gospel during this Lenten Season, we may see how we have failed to love others at times.

Yet, the good news is, that we are always invited to seek God’s forgiveness for our failure to love as Jesus taught us. And if we do, we are assured that will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to be of good courage and allow ourselves to be more vulnerable, as we learn to lean more deeply into the love of God.


O loving Saviour

pour upon me thy spirit of meekness and love,

annihilate the selfishness in me,

be thou all my life.

Guide thou my hand,

which trembles exceedingly,

upon the rock of ages. William Blake [1757-1827]

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