Daily Gospel Reflection – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
February 19, 2023
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Love as God Loves - Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermon
Friends, we continue our reading of the marvelous Sermon on the Mount. We cannot read this sermon as one ethical teaching among many. Everyone from Plato and Aristotle all the way up through Kant and Hegel have a moral philosophy—an understanding of how humans ought to behave. This is precisely the wrong way to read the Sermon on the Mount, because no one—ancient or modern, religious or nonreligious—sounds like Jesus. His radical command to love as God loves, in fact, sounds a little bit crazy.
Gospel: Mt 5:38-48
Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
"You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus commands us to love our enemies.
And Jesus showed us how to do it. Immediately after being fixed to the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." One of the most important elements of Jesus’ kingdom ethic was, accordingly, the praxis of forgiveness: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
As Walter Wink has pointed out, these recommendations have nothing to do with passivity in the face of evil. Rather, they embody a provocative but nonviolent manner of confronting evil and conquering it through a practice of coinherent love. By forgiving those putting him to death, Jesus is awakening them to the truth in which they already stand: their connectedness to him and to each other in God.