Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48
I hazard to say that today’s Gospel is the most challenging teaching for any Christian. As much as we propose practices and disciplines to identify ourselves as Christian, the touchstone of the Gospel is this exhortation to radical love, even loving my enemy. And each of us fails to do just that.
Perhaps that’s why we substitute other issues–isolated practices I can actually accomplish, that others may reject or neglect–to identify myself as a good Catholic and get myself off the hook. That’s the insidious part of this strategy: I must not only appear to be right but someone else, by contrast, must be wrong. Perhaps I hope to look better if they look worse. Perhaps I hope that I won’t notice how much I fail to love.
The older I grow, the more I perceive how my entire perspective has been wrong. Am I stuck trying so hard to be right–even if I’m the only one noticing me–that I am so wrong? Do I pretend to love, when I cannot love, just to come up to the right standard?
What if I admitted to God when I cannot sincerely love; and simply attempted fairness and kindness to the unlovable, untrustworthy person?
Might it not be better in my own estimation and before God to admit I can’t do this and just beg God to supply the love?