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Lenten Reflection: Day 11

Gospel, Matthew 5:43-48

Loving our enemies is understood to be an absurd idea in today’s world. That is precisely because there is so much hatred, violence and persecution. Man has many reasons, just and irrational to contradict and hate his enemies. But Jesus on the contrary, who is God as well as fully Man, dares us (if I may say) to embrace even our enemies. Leviticus 19:18 where we read, ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.


Proverbs 25:21. If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. So many in the world steal, kill, abuse and indulge in abomination, yet God let’s them breathe every single day. The eternal judge has countless foes who rebelliously undermine his decrees even as he sends rain water their crops and feed them.


There are so many who dismiss the idea of there being a Divine power who is supreme and eternal, creator of all and all powerful, yet they bask in the mercy, wisdom and providence He so lovingly bestows upon them, their families and their endeavors. The Sermon on the Mount is the wisdom given by Jesus to understand and practice the virtues as citizens of the kingdom of God. ‘You want to be My disciple?’ Jesus says, ‘then be willing to be transformed completely, inside out. If your old self was something, your new self in me will bring you everything – good and eternal.


To be born again categorically means to be made new in the spirit, renewed by the spirit and living always by the power of the spirit of God. Christ invites us for a drastic transformation. His call to perfection galvanizes the soul. Such a transformation can only be accomplished by God’s power. If God is not working in us, then we are living precisely like the Pharisees, whom Jesus accused of being hypocrites. Christ’s teachings and way of Life are not philosophical ideologies, which might attract only a particular people, for a peculiar time in history, or serve a specific purpose. Obedience to God’s precepts and wisdom changes our life completely, making us a new creation, reflecting that ‘image’ in which God created us.

Today’s Gospel warns us as well gently teaches us to not simply keep going on with life like the Israelites who lived in Egypt for so long that they could not get used to another way of life. Salvation is not just a matter of getting out of Egypt because getting out of Egypt only leads to the wilderness. The real exodus is to leave behind a life in the bondage if sin, walk through the wilderness of true repentance and purification, to finally enter the promise land which is the New Jerusalem. Amen.