Striving for Mercy and Forgiveness

– 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time –

(Strive to) “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”  [Matthew 5:48]

On the first reading of this Gospel, we will be seriously challenged and confronted with an almost unachievable encouragement to love our enemy. This directive is so easy to read, but when we are confronted with someone who has wronged us, being able to forgive them and indeed, to feel some empathy with them is a very big ask.

Yet that is what we are to do to be an authentic follower of Jesus. Jesus never promised us an easy ride if we join him on this journey. And indeed, he always led by example. ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34)

I have inserted the word ‘strive’ into the quote because we are on a journey into the heart of God;  a heart that is full of forgiveness and mercy. Each day we have the opportunity to try again to grow stronger in living with forgiving and merciful hearts just as God encourages us.

So let us not be discouraged by the command to ‘love our enemy’ but trust in God’s merciful and forgiving love for us and keep on the journey.


by Anne Surtees osu

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