ü We will hear again words of Jesus on the Law
ü The first reading is taken from the book of Leviticus, called so, not because it mentions the Levites, but because it is about the worship due to God, and those who are responsible for the official worship in the Temple are the priests. All of them came from the tribe of Levi.
ü Let us say some words on this book: :
o In this book we find the laws related to the worship of God and to the behavior of the Israelites in relation to God, to their neighbors and to themselves.
o Jesus takes from this book something that God tells the Israelites “Be holy, because I your God am holy.” As always Jesus explains the true meaning of these words.
o The book of the Leviticus begins where Exodus ends, and it continues to narrate the events at Mount Sinai
o All the sacrifices prescribed in it are in “honor of the Lord” who is the only one who has rights over the blood of all living beings, because the blood is life, and the lord of life is the Lord.
o The sacrifices represent and move towards feelings of
§ Loving respect toward God
§ Recognition of his lordship
§ The Joy of his presence
§ Sense of praise
§ Communion with God and with our brothers and sisters, especially those in need.
§ Feelings of thanksgiving and the desire to get back the friendship with God if we have lost it
FIRST READING Lv 19: 1-2, 17-18
Ø This Reading from the Leviticus is about the Law of Holiness “Be holy, because the Lord your God is holy.”
Ø What does it mean that God is holy? What is the meaning of the word “holy?”
Ø The sacred author does not give a definition of holiness, but he explains the behavior which is a consequence of this holiness
o You shall not bear hatred in your heart against your brother.
o Though you may have to correct him, do not do it in such a way that you incur in sin because of him,.
o Take no revenge, cherish no grudge against any of your people.
o You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
o God puts his signature at the end of this commandments “I am the Lord.”
o That means that I can order all of this because I am your Lord, I have created and I have made you to love, and I know that when you do not love you are not happy and you are not fully human as I have dreamed you, you are not my image, and I have created you to be my image among the rest of creation.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 103: 1-21, 3-4, 8-10, 12-13
THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL
Bless the Lord, O my soul
And all my being, bless his holy name
Bless the Lord, O my soul
Bless the Lord, O my soul
And forget not all his benefits.
He pardons all your iniquities
Heals all your ills
He redeems your life from destruction
Crowns you with kindness and compassion
Merciful and gracious is the Lord
Slow to anger and abounding in kindness
Not according to our sins does he deal with us
Nor does he requite us according to our crimes
As far as the east is from the west
So far has he put our transgressions form us
As a father has compassion on his children
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear him
Ø It begins with an invitation to bless, to say good things. What are we going to say?
Ø He forgives all your sins, heals your illnesses, crowns you with love and tenderness.
Ø And now the psalm says how is God, not only what he does for me, but what he does for all of us:
o He is kind, compassionate, slow to anger and merciful
o The Lord is loving
Ø It is surprising to see that in such a short paragraph the sacred author inspired by God says so many words that speak to us about the tenderness of God: kind, compassionate, merciful, loving.
Ø A question comes to our mind: having such a loving and caring God, where did we get the image of a punishing God, We may dedicate our prayer this week and our conversation with God asking him the grace to change this image of him if we have it. Let us listen to the Pope Francis his words will help us in this process, he invites us to be kind do not be afraid to show kindness.
GOSPEL Mt 5:38-48
v Today’s Gospel is the continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel. The theme of the law.
v Let us listen what Jesus has to say about the law, about what was said and what he says.
v It was said
o An eye for an eye ….. But I say to you “ offer no resistance to one who ius evil” may be we could say “do not respond to violence with violence.”
§ May your only violence be violence against yourselves, against your evil inclinations, on your lack of solidarity and of love toward the other human beings, against your selfishness?
§ Only in this way you will conquer evil, as your master did, he destroyed evil offering his own life with love toward those who were mistreating him
o You shall love your neighbor adn hate your enemy. But I say to you
o Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.
o In this way you will be true children of your heavenly Father, who makes the sun rise and the rain come down on good and bad alike.
o Because if you love those who love you and greet only your brothers, what is new about that? Do not pagans do the same?
o These words of Jesus make us think that if we do not forgive those who hurt us, ori f we do not pray for them, we are still pagans, we behave as such, even if we are called followers of Jesus.
v Jesus ends with an invitation to be perfect as the Father is perfect
o Again I ask myself where have we got the idea that perfection means that everything is “good” according to our human standards.
o Without defects according to our standards, that continue to be pagan since they have been taken from the Greek and other philosophies.
o God’s perfection is his unconditional love, his tenderness towards all, that does not change even if I decide to continue to sin and to go away from Him, He will continue to love me and this love will lead me home one day.
v This gospel is a good preparation for Lent.
SECOND READING 2Co 1:18-22
We begin today the Reading of the second letter to the Corinthians
Paul says that his word has not been yes and no, but only yea.
As the word, also the life of Christ has not been yes or not, it has only been YES=AMEN
And Paul says to us that our life has to be like this YES=AMEN of Christ to God the Father.
God who has given us security, trust in Christ and has anointed us with the Spirit
Has also plut his seal on us, he has sealed us with his seal. We seal what is our own possession. We belong to God.
Paul ends this fragment saying that the Spirit with whom we have been sealed is the “first installment” of what he will continue to give to us.
in many occasions I will have the opportunity to speak of the marvels of grace; here I will just say that the greatest one I see in our Holy Work is that the parents gave permission to their daughters for this navigation, especially being very Christian parents, as they are, - by the grace of God – those young ladies who have come to us until now. How certain it is that nobody can resist or force God’s will!!! It is sure that this Almighty God has all the hearts in his hands and moves them when and how he wills. If these creatures would not have been chosen by the powerful hand of God, it would be impossible for their parents to give them up like sheep in the hands of wolves, as the crew used to be commonly called for being people general vicious because of their lack of religiosity. And parents do not doubt this; rather they imagine more evil of what usually happens. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 125.
After I had finished giving missions on Grand Canary Island, the bishop asked me to go to Lanzarote. He decided that his brother, Father Salvador, a Capuchin, should accompany me there to help with confessions because there were very few clergy on the island Well, it happened that the priest in question was very fat, and as it was a trip of some two leagues inland from the port to the capital, he asked me, "How are we ever going to make it? Do you want to walk or ride?"
I answered, "You know I never ride, but always go on foot."
"Well," he said, "If you won't ride, neither will I."
I told him, "You can plainly see what a burden it would be for you to walk that far. I can't permit it. Since you won't ride unless I ride, then I'll ride so that you can, too."
Presently they brought us a big camel and the two of us got up on it. Shortly before we arrived at the town, we got down and walked the rest of the way into town, where I started preaching the mission. As we were saying our goodbyes after the mission, a man asked me, "Are you the missionary who preached on Grand Canary Island?" I said that I was. "Well," he said, "people here were saying it couldn't be you because that missionary said he always went on foot and you came here on camelback. That's why I heard someone say, 'I'm not going to hear him talk because he's not the missionary from Grand Canary Island.'".Saint Antonio María Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 484-85
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A. El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
LA BIBLIA, traducción tomada de la página web del Vaticano.
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española, Madrid 2012.