Reflection for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, by S. Joan Laughlin, OSF

birdinhandFirst Reading: Lev. 19:1-2, 17-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
God not only calls us to be holy, but God says to us, “You are holy.  You are a temple.  I live in you, and you in me.”  Yes, God’s temple is holy.  And we are that temple.
But you might say, “How am I holy?  How am I a temple?”  It is not through our doing that we are the residence of God.  God’s spirit dwells in us.  In the words of today’s reading, “We belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”
Of course, there are things we must do to enhance our being temples of God.  Things such as forgiving others, turning the other cheek when we have been offended, loving our enemies, giving to those who beg from us, praying for those who persecute us…
Jesus says, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  At the same time, He knows that we can’t be perfect.  He has told us to forgive others…and we believe that we have been forgiven many times.  In His words, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  I think He is also saying, “Forgive your neighbor as you forgive yourself.”
Loving God, You know that we are not perfect.  Many times we forget that Your Spirit lives in us–making us holy.  Help us to recall Your words as we try to forgive and as we struggle to love our enemies as we love our friends and as we love ourselves.  Please unburden us of our grudges and help make our lives simpler, that we may realize that we are HOLY.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, our model of forgiveness and love.
Joan Laughlin, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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