In a tribal society, outsiders of the territory were considered potential enemies. This was a matter of survival. Often, the myopic interpretation of the Levitical injunction: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lv 19:18) means to refer only to loving one’s own family, kin, clan. But God does not play favorites; all are his children. That is why in Jesus’ radical interpretation of the Torah, he gives the benefit in favor of the good of the other person. Jesus teaches his disciples to have a surpassing righteousness that goes beyond the harshness of the Torah with its law of talion: “Limb for limb, eye for eye, tooth for tooth!” (Lv 24:20). Jesus encourages his disciples to do something “more”: giving one’s cloak when one asks for a tunic, walking an extra mile, giving alms to one who begs (Mt 5:40-42).
Gospel • MATTHEW 5:43-48
Jesus said to His disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, 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? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.