The Power of Real Love – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ben & Ben is a folk pop band creating waves today in the country’s music scene. One of their hit songs is “Leaves.” The song is almost five minutes with a simple melody but with value-laden lyrics that hit the soul seriously. One line that is constantly repeated goes: “you never really love someone until you learn to forgive.” This ballad expresses an undying optimism that “all will be alright in time.” We just keep holding on because “as leaves will soon grow from the bareness of trees; from waves overgrown come the calmest of seas; wounds of the past will eventually heal.” Towards the last stanza the song explains the reason for its optimism: “cause all of this comes with a love that is real.” In other words, because of true love, all will be alright in time. It’s a song that asserts of the power of love in action.
Today’s gospel reading continues the teachings of Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount. By his own authority, he commands his disciples to go beyond the teachings of Moses. Jesus articulates that love can be a power in our lives. If we use it, we can become invincible. It is real love that enables us to offer no resistance to one who does us evil; to turn the other cheek or to go the extra mile. Love empowers us to abstain from any form of violence; to forgive our enemies and even pray for our persecutors. Love permits us to act in forgiveness and joyfully accept hardship that goes beyond the lex talionis (law of the equivalent) of the past. It is not a love that is sentimental or romantic. This requires on our part a great love for Jesus.
Our love for Jesus makes it possible for us to imitate him. It is a love the world may not understand because it requires great strength, discipline of character and the grace of God. In fact, for Jesus, this is his way of practicing holiness concretely. It is love beyond words that seeks to imitate our heavenly Father who is kind, merciful and forgiving. By seriously choosing to love in this way, we become children of God. We no longer react to our likes or dislikes; we go beyond our sentiments and whims. Love will give us optimism and strength.
Prayer:Lord, teach me to be kind, loving and forgiving like you so that I may be optimistic and invincible. Amen.
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