SUNDAY 19 febRuary
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
Psalter week III
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 12: 6
O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me.
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. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Leviticus 19: 1-2, 17-18
The Lord spoke to Moses; he said: “Speak to the whole community of the sons of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You must openly tell him, your neighbour, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.’”
Psalm 102(103):1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
R/ The Lord is compassion and love.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord all my being, bless his holy name. My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings.
It is he who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion.
The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.
As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 3: 16-23
Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple. Make no mistake about it: if any one of you thinks of himself as wise, in the ordinary sense of the word, then he must learn to be a fool before he really can be wise. Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As scripture says: The Lord knows wise men’s thoughts: he knows how useless they are; or again: God is not convinced by the arguments of the wise. So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.
Gospel Acclamation: Jn 14: 23
Alleluia, alleluia! If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 5: 38-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away. You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Prayer over the Offerings
As we celebrate your mysteries, O Lord, with the observance that is your due, we humbly ask you, that what we offer to the honour of your majesty may profit us for salvation.
Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 9: 2-3
I will recount all your wonders, I will rejoice in you and be glad, and sing psalms to your name, O Most High.
Prayer after Communion
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may experience the effects of the salvation which is pledged to us by these mysteries. Through Christ our Lord.
“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy,” says the first reading. Then it adds the principle of “an eye for an eye”; not a totally barbaric practice as it seems. It was meant to help the people exercise some restraint towards their defeated enemies. It became known as the Law of Retaliation, putting limits on the level of revenge that could be taken for an injury. Otherwise, unrestrained total war could spread throughout the world. Even the earliest Christians could be quarrelsome, some siding with Paul and some with Apollos. But those tensions, once healed, can sharpen the focus of a community. They led people back to prayer, to dialogue and a new kind of unity. We are beginning Lent this week, a time of spiritual closeness to God; forgiveness and reconciliation are appropriate thoughts to accompany us during the Lenten journey. Earlier thinkers before Jesus had stated the principle of not doing to others what you would not have them do to you. Jesus wants us to be perfect, talking about living within our True-Self. Our True-Self is at the core of who we are and is rooted in love. Unfortunately, we often act out of “false-self”, based on ego. In our false self we are easily offended and see others as different from us. This “othering” is what leads to the dualism that Jesus calls us to avoid in the Gospel.