Saturday of the First Week of Lent
February 24, 2018
Readings of the day: RB 18:20-25Mass: Dt 26:16-19; Resp. Ps 119; Mt 5:43-48
We are to walk in God’s ways.
In his first sermon for the Season of Lent, Preacher of the Papal Household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa (preacher since 1980), preached on Saint Paul’s exhortation in the letter to the Romans: ‘Do not be conformed to this world’ (Rm 12:2). Vatican Radio provided this summary: ‘Those who “feel called to transform the world or the Church,” are first called to transform themselves. The logical conclusion to “Do not be conformed to this world,” would seem to be ‘so, transform it!” Instead Paul tells us, “Transform yourselves!”,’ says Fr Cantalamessa.
Two ways to transform ourselves are given to us by Jesus in today’s gospel: ‘love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.’ God ‘makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.’ In other words, God extends his love and mercy to everyone, even those who offend, persecute, rub us the wrong way, irritate, or challenge us to be better people—all of us. Jesus poses a few questions: ‘For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?We offer a gift pleasing to Jesus when we spend timewith a person who has difficulties or we help someone for the sake of helping.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, Feb. 24, 2018)