SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The first reading calls us to live a life of holiness. One way to do this is to live a life of mercy towards all who offend us. In the second reading, Paul reminds the Corinthians that their body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He also tells them that destroying the unity and the harmony of the community defiles the very holiness of God.
FIRST READING: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
The writer reminds his fellow Israelites of their call to live a holy life. He then tells us, his readers, that a life of holiness is manifested through acts of love, mercy and kindness, particularly towards those who have hurt us.
SECOND READING: 1Corinthians 3:16-23
Paul is warning those who are endangering the unity of the community by their words and deeds, that they will be severely punished for their divisive behavior. “If anyone destroys God’s temple (i.e., the body of Christ) God will destroy him.”
Then Paul goes on to debunk human wisdom which the Corinthians boast about. He tells his readers that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”
GOSPEL: Matthew 5:38-48
This is a continuation of last week’s Gospel in which Jesus changed the way the Jews should live the Torah (the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai). He tells them how disciples should deal with personal offenses: “You have heard it said: ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But what I say to you is this: offer no resistance to one who is evil.” In our efforts to be faithful to this command of the Lord, we should make a distinction between violent and non-violent resistance, the latter having been the tactic used very effectively by people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. We can and should use every kind of non-violent resistance to those who mistreat us.
Jesus goes on to say that we must not only love our friends but also our enemies, for God’s light shines on the good as well as the bad. While dying on the cross, Jesus loved his enemies by forgiving them. With God’s grace, we can do the same.
If we are very conscious that we and others are temples of the Holy Spirit, how might that impact the way we relate to ourselves and others?