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A Love that Goes Out

– Tuesday 11th Week in Ordinary Time –

“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” [Matthew 5:43-48]

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. 

Like me, perhaps you have heard this Gospel text a few times. However, there is a newness to be found every time we encounter God’s word.

St. John Henry Newman says, “the love of our private friends is the only preparatory exercise for the love of all”. In other words, loving those to whom we are naturally drawn is a training ground for embracing all people.

This is a constant reminder to keep a mission-orientated heart. A mission-oriented heart seeks to embrace all rather than restricting itself to cultivating those relationships that are easy. A mission-oriented heart seeks to include and welcome everyone when, for example, at an event or social situation. A mission-oriented heart seeks to extend hospitality and charity to those who are perhaps on the outer.

Today’s Gospel text encourages us never to grow comfortable by only loving those we find it easy to love, to the exclusion of those who present more challenges. It also encourages us to remember that love is action rather than feeling. Love is the action of choosing to extend mercy to all, including those who have wronged or disgruntled us.

God’s ways are not our ways. Sometimes we cannot understand the call to love those we really do not naturally gravitate to. Today’s Gospel invites us to accept God’s good judgement and justice, which will be revealed in the fullness of time.

It is the radical perfection of our compassion that Jesus calls us to in today’s Gospel. This almost unattainable standard can only be achieved through God’s grace.

 

by Georgina Devenish-Meares


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