WSC Reflection February 20, 2022

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle C, Year II)
Community Word: The grace of God empowers us to lovingly respond to Christ’s calling.
Theme: We lovingly respond to Christ’s calling when we are merciful and forgiving to those who have wronged us.
Promise: “He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills.” (Ps 103:3)

Reflection:
Jesus may have always shocked his disciples with his radical instructions and commands. Last Sunday, we heard the message of Jesus on the Beatitudes. He declared that the poor, the hungry, the uncomforted, and the persecuted are blessed; while he cautioned those who are now enjoying the comforts of being rich, well-fed, and comfortable and who disregard the plight of the poor. Now he commands them to love their enemies and do good to those who hate them (cf. Lk 6:35), on top of his commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself.
The command of Jesus to love one’s enemies is startling and very challenging because emotionally we tend to cling to our grudges and resentments. On our own, this is difficult to do because these emotions can run deep. We will definitely need God’s grace to follow this commandment and overcome our negative passion. When there is so much struggle to fight our anger, resentment and even hatred, our response to what Jesus asks us will depend on our surrendering to the grace and enlightenment that comes from God. To love a friend can be easy, but to love an enemy can only be achieved with divine grace.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” (Lk 6:36). God demands that we treat one another with loving kindness and mercy, just as He is. He embraces both the just as well as the unjust, saints and sinners alike, “… for He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust,” (Mt.5:45). God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good in others, even those who hate and abuse us. Our love for others must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown us, even to those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us.
How can we possibly love those who cause us harm and ill will? Our prayer for our enemies will break the power of revenge and release the power of love to do good in the face of evil. With God all things are possible, for His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, grief and prejudices. Only the cross of Jesus Christ will free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, “get-even” mindset that tends to occupy our thoughts, and give us the courage to return evil with good. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing,” (1 Pt 3:9).
We need to realize how forgiving God is. His mercy to all His children is immediate and unconditional. We just need to change our behavior so that His love and mercy can enter and find a place in us; this includes our willingness to forgive those who have wronged us. We were saved by the greatest act of mercy the world will ever know. And now our heavenly Father is asking us to share His divine mercy to all, to live and operate in His likeness by loving others the way we have been loved by Him. St. Paul tells us to deal with the weakness of others: “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive,” (Col 3:13). When mercy is present, forgiveness will not be hard to do.
We will be measured by how we measure others. Living with unforgiveness is living outside of the will of God. As St. James tells us, “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment,” (Jas 2:13).
Let us pray then for courage to be able to offer forgiveness to those who desperately need mercy and forgiveness. When we forgive, God will release His forgiveness to us as well. By loving them regardless of what they say or do to us, we keep in our heart a sense of deep joy and peace as we claim God’s promise, “He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills,” (Ps 103:3).

Prayer
Lord Jesus, You have asked us to offer to your merciful heart our resentment, anger and hatred on those who have wronged us, and to forgive them as You have commanded us to do. Allow us to ponder upon Your great mercy despite our wickedness and ungratefulness. Change our heart so that we will not be judgmental and condemning of our enemies. But renew Your love in us to become forgiving like the Father and be worthy to be called His children. Help us to live in perfect unity with our fellowmen so that we may boldly proclaim Your saving power to the whole world. Amen.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Recall the experience when you forgave someone. How did that make you feel?
  2. In what ways can I show compassion and mercy in imitation of our Lord, Jesus Christ?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
February 20, 2022 (Sun) – 1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23/ Ps 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13/ 1 Cor 15:45-49/ Lk 6:27-38
February 21, 2022 (Mon) – Jas 3:13-18/ Ps 19:8-10, 15/ Mk 9:14-29
February 22, 2022 (Tue) – 1 Pt 5:1-4/ Ps 23:1-3, 4-6/ Mt 16:13-19
February 23, 2022 (Wed) – Jas 4:1-17/ Ps 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11/ Mk 9:38-40
February 24, 2022 (Thu) – Jas 5:1-6/ Ps 49:14-15, 15-16, 17-18, 19-20/ Mk 9:41-50
February 25, 2022 (Fri) – Jas 5:9-12/ Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12/ Mk 10:1-12
February 26, 2022 (Sat) – Jas 5:13-20/ Ps 141:1-2, 3, 8/ Mk 10:13-16

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