Grace to you!
Matthew 5:48 is arguably the highpoint of the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount teaching. Jesus said; “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
The context of this reading suggests it has to do with being perfect in our love for one another the same way God is perfect in his love for all.
I came up with a seven group of questions for self-examination regarding the extent of my love and the signs that show when I have started to mirror God’s way of loving. I share these thoughts and questions with you today. You may see them as prayerful suggestions on knowing the extent of one’s love for another.
1. When I see or meet someone that is totally different from me, what are my first impulses? A sentiment of graciousness? Or suspicion, repulsion? The former is a sign of growth in true love. The latter is a sign of lack of it.
2. Would I be happier and more fulfilled if the world was made up of people who share the same values as I do, or people who are of the same race or culture as mine? Is it an effort to live peacefully and have a refreshing conversation with someone who has a completely different value system? When I do, do I cherish them with the same affection as I would with those I love and treasure?
3. Would I see that justice is done for the person who is maliciously against me? How easy is it for me to separate people’s past from their present and be able to give them the benefit of the doubt?
4. When people hurt me, how do I respond to the inner desire to pay back? Do I find excuses for them as I find excuses for my own personal faults? Do I still wish them well and pray for their wellbeing or is doing so an impossible practice for me?
5. If I’m materially blessed, in my heart of hearts, do I truly see the homeless as of the same worth as I am? Can I hang out with the smelly homeless and not feel ashamed being with the person?
6. In my daily or weekly prayers, what is the percentage of my petitions regarding me, people related to me and those with whom I have nothing in common? How often do I pray for the welfare of those I consider not in my good book? In fact, how much of my prayer is about others and about their welfare?
7. Finally, the most important: In my heart of hearts, do I have pure love for people for who they are instead of what they have become or what they have or what they mean to me? Can I honestly say I love everyone in the same way I love myself and/or my friends? If they are to replace me or my friends, would I feel equally fulfilled and happy they did?
These suggestions may be hypothetical. However, they could be a spiritual examination to measure the extent of my love for others.
Praying that God will pour his love into our hearts, that we may love as he loves; that is, that we may love in the measure possible for us as humans to the degree of perfection appropriate to the human kind.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 11 Ordinary Time B: 1 Kgs 21:17-29; Mt 5:43-48]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.