Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

02-19-2023From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. Antony Arockiadoss

Dear Family!

It has been painful watching our brothers and sisters in Turkey and Syria suffer on account of earthquakes. The two earthquakes both measuring 7.0 magnitude resulted in more than 20,000 deaths and continue to climb further as rescue teams doing their best in saving lives.

Pope Francis prayed for the thousands of dead and continues to do so to show our closeness to the victims, their families; we are grateful for all the aid workers responding to the crisis. Our bishop has requested us to take up a second collection as soon as possible to help those in need. I ask your support and prayers for all the people of Turkey and Syria.

The Gospel focuses on two more Interpretations of Torah (last week we listened to four). The first is about the new way to get justice. Our Catechism teaches us that “Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (CCC 2303).

The Catechism teaches about forgiveness in the context of prayer: “Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies, transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God's compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another (CCC 2844)

At the Angelus on Sunday, 12th February (It applies well for this Sunday Readings as well) Pope Francis invites us to interiorize the message of the gospel as ‘rules’ of religion is good and necessary, but it could lead us to do the bare minimum. He went on to reiterate, “At times, for example, we hear it said, “Father, I have not killed, I have not stolen, I have not harmed anyone…”, as if to say, “I am fine”. This is formal observance, which is satisfied with the bare minimum, whereas Jesus invites us to aspire to the maximum possible. That is: God does not reason with calculations and tables; he loves us as one who is enamored: not to the minimum, but to the maximum! He does not say, “I love you up to a certain point”. No, true love is never up to a certain point, and is never satisfied; love always goes beyond…” As the Opening prayer for today’s mass reminds us to listen to the Holy Spirit, let us ask for the grace to work towards our holiness in God’s own perfection.

Fr. Antony