Saturday, February 28, 2015

First Saturday of Lent

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Mt.5:43-48

Today’s Gospel speaks to me about the compelling power of love. Jesus challenges me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. Who are my enemies? I grew up in a broken family. I can’t recall a moment where I felt loved as a young girl. My parents divorced despite my constant effort trying to be the “perfect” girl. I was crippled by fear and hatred. Inside of me, there was always a deep sense of sadness and loneliness. I began to build an invisible brick wall as a shield to protect my heart from damage and pain. The very people who I loved and cherished became my enemies because I couldn’t learn to forgive them. I was angry with God for not answering my prayers and allowing my suffering to exist.

As I grew older, I began to understand the true meaning of love when I recognized His presence in my life. God is always there through the darkest moments of my life. He never stops loving me. He is the missing father, mother, and the ultimate lover that I seek. He loves me for who I am not because I am perfect. Through the grace and mercy of God, I am able to accept my family and choose to love them again. Sometimes, it is so much easier to love a compatible friend, a helpful coworker, or even a humorous stranger on the street than the people that are dearest to us. They in fact are the hardest ones to love because they tend to hurt us the most. But true love endures and perfects through trials and sufferings. God calls me through the Gospel today to mirror His example of true love and perfection.  

Dear God, please help me be a witness of your true love on this earth. Help me shatter the brick wall that I have built over the years, and cultivate within me your love so that I can befriend all my “enemies”.

Reflected by Thuy Phuong Trinh

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