Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Matthew 5:43-48


In today’s readings, Jesus calls us to his higher way.

Today’s first reading comes from the last part of the Book of Deuteronomy. It contains the covenant laws by which the lives of observant Jews were guided. Moses reminds the people of the solemn agreement that has been made between God and them.

It is a mutually binding contract. However, it does not mean that if the people fail, God will abandon them. In fact, the opposite is true: God continues to offer unconditional love and fidelity to his people when they fail.

Today’s gospel passage on loving even one’s enemies shows, in particular, how far God’s commands are to be observed. This continuation of Jesus’ teaching on love and humility in the Sermon on the Mount expands the idea of love to include one’s enemies.

Loving enemies is really hard. So, as an encouragement to us, Jesus gives us a promise, which gives us hope. In verse 45, he says we are to love our enemies “so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

If loving your enemies is not hard enough, we are encouraged to ‘be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ Just as the Father’s love encompasses all people, so too should ours.

May we respond to Jesus call to his higher way.

Joanne McGrath is a parishioner of St Brigid’s Marrickville and a Passionist Companion.

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