Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

Engaging Faith | Sat, Feb 12, 2011

By John Bucki, S.J.

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

February 20, 2011



Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

Matthew 5:38-48



February: African American History Month

February 14 – 20: Random Acts of Kindness Week

February 21: Presidents’ Day in the USA




Peace is the outcome of a long and demanding battle which is only won when evil is defeated by good.

Pope John Paul II, 1 January 2005


Daily human events clearly evidence how much forgiveness and reconciliation are undeniably needed for bringing about a real personal and social renewal. This is valid in interpersonal relations but also among communities as well as nations.

Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 2001


It is to be hoped that hatred and violence will not triumph in people's hearts, especially among those who are struggling for justice, and that all people will grow in the spirit of peace and forgiveness.

Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 27


But it will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor — as individuals and as peoples — are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced. The poor ask for the right to share in enjoying material goods and to make good use of their capacity for work, thus creating a world that is more just and prosperous for all. The advancement of the poor constitutes a great opportunity for the moral, cultural and even economic growth of all humanity.

Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 28


Love for others, and in the first place love for the poor, in whom the Church sees Christ himself, is made concrete in the promotion of justice. Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment. Only such an awareness can give the courage needed to face the risk and the change involved in every authentic attempt to come to the aid of another. It is not merely a matter of "giving from one's surplus", but of helping entire peoples which are presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development. For this to happen, it is not enough to draw on the surplus goods which in fact our world abundantly produces; it requires above all a change of life-styles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies.

Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 58



Thoughts for your consideration


Jesus said to his disciples:

Offer no resistance to one who is evil.

When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.

Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.


This is crazy.  This makes no sense to people living in the competitive, consumer culture of the United States.  This will not sell on “talk radio.” 


Jesus proclaimed a radical message about God’s love for all of us. Jesus offered a radical invitation to love one another without condition – to love those who are different than ourselves, to love even our enemies.  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. 


Can the followers of Jesus today be faithful to this call, or will the vision of active loving nonviolence get lost?


Jesus said to his disciples:

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.


This is crazy.  This makes no sense to people living in the competitive, consumer culture of the United States.  This will not sell on “talk radio.” This will not fit into our military strategies.  This will not help us dominate the world.  This will endanger our security.


Can the followers of Jesus today be faithful to this call, or will the vision of active loving nonviolence get lost?


Can we live what we hear in 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.”?


Do we really believe that this is the way God wants us to live?


In today’s selection from the first letter to the Corinthians Paul reminds us: “The wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”



Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group


What does the Christian vision of active nonviolence say to you in light of war and terrorism? 

Do you believe it should be our response? 

Is this practical and realistic?

Can you share that belief with others?

What “spirituality” will make it possible to live this way?



Actions – Links


Last December Steven Colbert quoted a verse from today’s gospel in his commentary on Christ and the place of Jesus.  You can listen to it at:


The Children’s’ Defense Fund report: “Nearly two-thirds of the 8.3 million uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but are not enrolled due largely to unnecessary barriers to enrollment imposed by states.” Take action at:


Since 2000, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers have been providing a unique Classroom Program for Catholic schools. This FREE Program is available in two versions, K-5 for the lower grades and 6-12 for upper elementary and high school grades.  Get info at:



“Crazy Facts”


Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s’ Defense Fund reports:

“The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results are equally discouraging: more than 60 percent of students in grades four, eight, and 12 are unable to perform at grade level. More than 25 percent of all high school students drop out or do not graduate on time. For minority students the results are far worse: 80 percent in grades four, eight, and 12 cannot perform at grade level, and more than 40 percent later drop out or do not graduate on time. Many students who do graduate lack the skills necessary for college or entry-level jobs in civilian and military life.”



Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, teach to love as Jesus taught.

In a world with too much war and violence, we pray….

In a world with so much poverty and injustice, we pray…

In a world that spends way too much on the weapons of war, we pray…

In a nation with so much economic inequality, we pray…

In a nation with so many children who are still hungry or without good schooling, we pray…

With hearts that still find it hard to love our enemies, we pray….

With a vision that still cannot see clearly, we pray….



Prayer - Meditation


Prayer for Peace   


Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.


But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.


source: The Tanakh, Micah 4:2-5