This is the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear from the Book of Leviticus: “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. … Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Paul’s letter to the Corinthians reminds us that the Spirit of God lives in each person. In a world with many examples of hatred, violence, war, and unnecessary death, Jesus appears with the radical call for us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to trust in the way of peace, and to be especially concerned for those most in need. Do we really believe that this is the way God wants us to live? That this is the way of Jesus?
“The dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced!” (Pope Francis, 3/22/13)
“You are God’s temple … God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are” (1 Cor 3:16-17). In this temple, which we are, an existential liturgy is being celebrated: that of goodness, forgiveness, service; in a word, the liturgy of love. This temple of ours is defiled if we neglect our duties towards our neighbor. Whenever the least of our brothers and sisters finds a place in our hearts, it is God himself who finds a place there. When that brother or sister is shut out, it is God himself who is not being welcomed. A heart without love is like a deconsecrated church, a building withdrawn from God’s service and given over to another use. (Pope Francis, 2/23/14)