7th Sunday in Ordinary Time C 2023
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.
One day a truck driver stopped at a restaurant for dinner and ordered a steak. Before he could eat it, in walked a motorcycle gang, with dirty leather jackets and long, unkempt hair.
They took the man’s steak, cut it into six pieces, and ate it. The driver said nothing. He simply paid the bill and walked out.
One of the gang members said, “What a wimp! He couldn’t fight! He didn’t lift a hand!”
Another one said, “He couldn’t even talk. He didn’t say a word.”
The waitress behind the lunch counter then shouted out, “It looks like he can’t drive either. On his way out of the parking lot, he ran over six motorcycles and crushed all of them.”
Something in us loves that story, because we like retaliation. But, on this last Sunday before Lent we hear Jesus challenging us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.
He also stresses the importance of going beyond the letter of the law and fulfilling its spirit by being merciful, pure in heart, and a peacemaker.
As we approach Ash Wednesday this week, this gospel message is especially relevant.
During Lent, we are called to reflect on our lives and to turn away from our sins. We are called to seek God's forgiveness and to deepen our relationship with him.
One way we can do that is by taking on the challenge of forgiving someone who has hurt us.
Forgiving others is not always easy, but it is a powerful and transformative act that can free us from the pain and anger that can hold us back. When we forgive, we let go of the past and open ourselves to a brighter future filled with peace and love.
So in addition to giving up chocolate, or TV or social media for Lent how about taking on the challenge of forgiveness? How about praying for the grace to forgive those who have hurt us, and to seek the peace and love that come from letting go of the past.
Let's work on loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us so that we all may be children of our heavenly Father.