Second reading: Extracted from the 1st letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you?
If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
Make no mistake about it: if any one of you thinks of himself as wise, in the ordinary sense of the word, then he must learn to be a fool before he really can be wise.
Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.
As scripture says: The Lord knows wise men’s thoughts: he knows how useless they are; or again: God is not convinced by the arguments of the wise.
So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.
Gospel Reading: Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:38-48:
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance.
On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.
Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.
‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike.
For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not?
You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
Will my Daddy God really come & dispense justice?
The Lord says this:
‘I myself will send an angel before you to guard you as you go and bring you to the place that I have prepared.
Give him reverence and listen to all that he says.
Offer him no defiance; he would not pardon such a fault, for My Name is in him.
If you listen to his voice and do all that I say, I shall be enemy to your enemies, foe to your foes.
My angel will go before you.’
(Exodus 23:20-23, Encouragements-150)
17 'On the day when I act, says Yahweh Sabaoth, they will be my most prized possession, and I shall spare them in the way a man spares the son who serves him.
18 Then once again you will see the difference between the upright person and the wicked one, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.
19 'For look, the Day is coming, glowing like a furnace. All the proud and all the evil-doers will be the stubble, and the Day, when it comes, will set them ablaze, says Yahweh Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor branch.
20 But for you who fear my name, the Sun of justice will rise with healing in his rays, and you will come out leaping like calves from the stall,
21 and trample on the wicked, who will be like ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act, says Yahweh Sabaoth.
(Malachi 3: 17-21, Encouragements-96)
God stands in the divine assembly, among the gods he dispenses justice:
‘No more mockery of justice, no more favouring the wicked!
Let the weak and the orphan have justice, be fair to the wretched and destitute; rescue the weak and needy, save them from the clutches of the wicked!’
Ignorant and senseless, they carry on blindly, undermining the very basis of earthly society.
I once said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you, but all the same, you shall die like men; as one man, princes, you shall fall.
Rise, God, dispense justice throughout the world, since no nation is excluded from your ownership.
(Psalm 82, Encouragements-99)
3 Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees
4 and say to the faint-hearted, 'Be strong! Do not be afraid. Here is your God, vengeance is coming, divine retribution; he is coming to save you.'
5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed,
10 For those whom Yahweh has ransomed will return, they will come to Zion shouting for joy, their heads crowned with joy unending; rejoicing and gladness will escort them and sorrow and sighing will take flight.
(Isaiah 35, Encouragements-115)
24 Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce?
25 But this is what the Lord says:
“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. ”
(Isaiah 49, Encouragements-117)
6 And the Lord said, 'You notice what the unjust judge has to say?
7 Now, will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them?
8 I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?'
(Luke 18, Encouragements-42)
It was the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time on 23 February 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown in the previous page & above.
We have extracted the Homilies Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
St Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time the biblical readings speak to us of God’s desire to make all human beings share in his life: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy”, we read in the Book of Leviticus (19:1). With these words and with the consequent precepts the Lord invited the People whom he had chosen to be faithful to the Covenant with him, to walk on his path; and he founded social legislation on the commandment “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).
Then if we listen to Jesus in whom God took a mortal body to make himself close to every human being and reveal his infinite love for us, we find that same call, that same audacious objective. Indeed, the Lord says: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
But who could become perfect? Our perfection is living humbly as children of God, doing his will in practice. St Cyprian wrote: “that the godly discipline might respond to God, the Father, that in the honour and praise of living, God may be glorified in man (De zelo et livore [On jealousy and envy], 15: CCL 3a, 83).
How can we imitate Jesus? He said: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). Anyone who welcomes the Lord into his life and loves him with all his heart is capable of a new beginning. He succeeds in doing God’s will: to bring about a new form of existence enlivened by love and destined for eternity.
The Apostle Paul added: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16). If we are truly aware of this reality and our life is profoundly shaped by it, then our witness becomes clear, eloquent and effective. A medieval author wrote: “When the whole of man’s being is, so to speak, mingled with God’s love, the splendour of his soul is also reflected in his external aspect” (John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, XXX: PG 88, 1157 B), in the totality of life.
“Love is an excellent thing”, we read in the book the Imitation of Christ. “It makes every difficulty easy, and bears all wrongs with equanimity…. Love tends upward; it will not be held down by anything low… love is born of God and cannot rest except in God” (III, V, 3).
Dear friends, the day after tomorrow, 22 February, we shall celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. Christ entrusted to him, the first of the Apostles, the task of Teacher and Pastor for the spiritual guidance of the People of God, so that it might be uplifted to Heaven. I therefore urge all pastors to “assimilate that ‘new style of life’ which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles” (Letter inaugurating the Year for Priests, 16 June 2009).
Let us invoke the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, so that she may teach us to love each other and accept each other as brothers and sisters, children of the same heavenly Father.
After the Angelus:
I offer heartfelt greetings to all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus! In particular I greet the young singers from the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in London. The Cardinal’s motto, Amare et Servire, is a beautiful expression of the Christian way of life. We are all called to love unconditionally, as today’s Gospel reminds us, and to place ourselves generously at the service of our neighbour. Upon everyone here today, and upon your families and loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.
Have a good Sunday, goodbye!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
2 March 2014