Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saint Romuald (+1027), anchorite and father of Camaldolensis monks.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 5,43-48

'You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus' speech on oppositions continues. After having reminded his disciples about the common proverb of the time: "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy," Jesus proposes his Gospel: "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Jesus proposes the first commandment of love as the heart of the life of the disciple and of the Church. The short message of this Gospel passage demonstrates very well the real wisdom of life. It is certainly not to let oneself be guided by hate and revenge. Unfortunately, these sentiments and attitudes that have always been present in men and women do not cease to reveal their strength. Unfortunately, they appear very normal. It is easy to think that it is natural to defend oneself from someone who wants to inflict evil. Jesus knows that evil cannot be defeated by patting it or coming to terms with it. It must be removed at its very root. This is why in a paradoxical, yet decisive way, Jesus asks his disciples to love their enemies. He is stating something that scandalizes our current mentality. It is indeed troubling. We ask ourselves whether it is truly possible. Doesn't this sound like an abstract and unattainable utopia? Jesus himself put them into practice when from the cross, he prayed for his executioners. And how many martyrs, starting from Stephen, have lived with the same spirit! Clearly, this kind of love does not come from men and women and even less from the natural outpouring of our hearts: it comes from Heaven, from God who lets his sun rise on the good and the evil, without partiality. The Lord offers his love freely, without our meriting it. The disciples should live in this horizon of love that comes from Heaven and transforms the Earth. Otherwise, "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?" Indeed, we become like salt that has lost its taste and like light that has lost its splendour. Jesus proposes an audacious ideal. He says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." If we welcome his love, we are on the way to God's perfection. In a time when the logic of opposition and the search for the enemy reign; the exhortation to love our enemies seems liberating. Jesus knows well that enmity between people can easily develop. In order to avoid these infernal chains, Jesus gives us an exhortation that no one else had ever previously uttered: "Love your enemies!" Only thus can love truly prevail. The Gospel does not negate the complexities of life, but it does reverse the notion that conflict is the only, inevitable way we can regulate our relationships. Indeed, with love, whoever may be our enemy today may return to be or become our friend tomorrow.