February 24, 2018
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Spiritual Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 229

Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 5:43-48

Praying Lent
Lent Prayer for Today

The First Week of Lent - 26 min. - Text Transcript

Beginning My Lenten Patterns

Doing Lent As A Family

Helping Little Children with Lent

In verse 17 of this chapter Jesus had said that he had come not to abolish the Law... but to fulfill it and it seems that it is with this intention that he now “quotes” Leviticus 19: 18. But there is a problem: the Leviticus text contains only the first part of Jesus’ “quotation”, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The second part –hate your enemy– is not there. It seems that the popular remembering of the text had appropriated a non-Torah addition introduced by the Essenes of Qumran, some of whom even took an oath to hate their enemies.

Yet, as long as that was the popular “remembering” of the injunction, Jesus uses it to correct the existing extrapolation and to expand the true quote with his own injunction: But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. And he bases his commandment on the Father’s indiscriminating goodness in making the sun rise on the bad and the good and causing rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

As we move on through Lent, we prepare ourselves to celebrate redemption offered to bad and good... to just and unjust. But redemption as offered remains incomplete, until it is freely accepted by us, an acceptance that presupposes a recognition of our need of such redemption. Lent urges us to recognize our daily need for fuller acceptance of that redemption already offered.

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