7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
February 19, 2017
A Message from God
- Lv 19:1-2.17-18 – The demands of the love of neighbor in the Old Testament
- 1 Cor 3:16-23 – We are God’s most precious temple.
- Mt 5:38-48 – God’s love for all men is our model in our love of neighbor.
For the complete Biblical texts, see “The New Exploring God’s Word,” Year A, Part 1, pp. 112-115.
“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord!”
Jesus said to his disciples: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? ”
The Challenge to Love without Borders
In April 27, 1994, the first democratic and multiracial elections were held in South Africa. That marked the end of the “Apartheid” but not of the problems of that divided nation. There was a real danger of a bloodbath. Not a few among the blacks wanted to take revenge against the whites for all the sufferings and humiliations they had endured during the decades of “White Rule.”
It was thanks to the initiative of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the magnanimity of Nelson Mandela that a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (TRC) was set up in 1995. According to that initiative, those who had committed injustices during the period of the Apartheid were expected to come forward, acknowledge their wrongdoings, and apologize for them and seek amnesty. The victims would come forward, too, and forgive their offenders. Obviously, the purpose of that exercise was to promote national unity and reconciliation. It was an idealistic scenario.
Many of those who had perpetrated crimes, however, refused to present themselves to the Commission. Others who had suffered so much were not prepared to forgive. They demanded justice – which, in that specific case, meant severe retribution. But a sizeable number of both whites and blacks accepted the invitation and cooperated with the TRC. Thanks to them, an atmosphere of reconciliation began to set in, with the determination to leave the past behind. Thus, the whole nation started moving forward in peace, blacks and whites working together to build a better and fairer society.
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