Thoughts on the Readings for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2017

For this Sundays readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021917.cfm 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find Jesus words in our Gospel today to be among his most difficult.   In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples: “offer no resistance to one is evil;”  “turn the other cheek;”  “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow;”  “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;”   These are hard words to hear, and harder still to live out.  Yet Jesus doesn’t qualify them or offer a context for them that might make them more palatable.  Instead he concludes these remarks by saying:  “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  

What are we to make of these words of Jesus?   Four things come immediately to mind.  1.  Jesus was serious.  He meant what he said.   2.  As disciples of Jesus we are called to give witness to these words by the way we live.   3.  Clearly we don’t always do this. Sin and failure are a part of each of our lives.   4.  Ultimately, it is only with God’s grace that we can live them out.     

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Leviticus.   It shares the theme of the Gospel.  In the section we read this weekend, we are told:  “The Lord said to Moses:  ‘Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: ………………... You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart ………………... Take no revenge and cherish no grudge again any of your people.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”    

Our second reading this weekend once again is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In it Paul reminds the Corinthians that as “the temple of God,” they are called to be holy.    

Questions for reflection/discussion:

  1. If we believe in Jesus Christ, and take his words in today’s Gospel seriously, why do we have such difficulty putting them into practice?  
  2. When you have given witness to these words of Jesus in your life?
  3. Have you ever thought of yourself or someone else as a “temple” of God? 
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