First Saturday of Lent

Readings: Dt 26: 16-19 / Ps 119: 1-2, 4-5, 7-8 / Mt 5: 43-48

“…I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:44-48)

Over the last few months our potential enemies list has grown exponentially, and continues to grow. Every day the popular press highlight our differences; differences in beliefs, traditions, cultures, politics. In recent months we have seen sides taken, lines drawn over and over again. Daily we are presented with the portrait of the “other”.  Hostility is palpable on a personal, local and global scale.

And yet, in the midst of all this discord we hear of our call to be perfect. This isn’t a “dot your i’s and cross your t’s” perfect, this is a call to love as God loves. To love unconditionally, to love our enemies and those who persecute us. We are called to see in that portrait of the “other” the image and likeness of God. We are ALL made in the image and likeness of God. (God appears to take delight in variety!) We are called to love generously and universally. Not from a stance of tacit acceptance, rather from a desire for justice for all.

You are made in God’s image. It’s a pretty spectacular heritage. Live up to it!”

(Adapted from Love’s Design, Marcia Allen)

Connie Murphy