7th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Published on 13 Feb 2017
Sculpture in Northern Ireland of two people reaching out across a divide, representing reconciliation after the Troubles.

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that,
always pondering spiritual things,
we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you.

You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.
First Reading (Leviticus 19:17)

It is he who forgives all your guilt...The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy
Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 102)

Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple?...you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.
Second Reading (1 Corinthians: 3:16–23)

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Gospel (Matthew 5: 38–48)

I take time to realize that I am in the presence of my loving, compassionate creator. The readings this Sunday invite us to be more like our God in word and deed by refusing to take revenge on those who have wronged us.
In the first reading from Leviticus we are invited to imitate God by being holy. The best way is to refuse to bear grudges. Let us speak clearly when we are offended. Finally, we must have the same love for others as for ourselves. The psalm reminds us that God never withdraws love. God is not waiting to punish us and does not want us to feel guilty. He wants us to realize we are loved and forgiven.
The second reading explains that holiness is about respect and living in harmony, not division. To be wise in Christian terms is to realize our dependence on God. In the Gospel passage, Jesus begins with the laws and customs already in place and asks his listeners to stretch their compassion. Jews were already obliged, for instance, to carry the heavy weapons of the Roman soldiers for one mile. Now they should go two miles. Leviticus had asked them to love their neighbour. Now this must include their enemies. This is how they are to imitate their Creator God.