February 23, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Stretched, a Sunday Scriptures blog

Challenging. That’s a one-word characterization of today’s Gospel. Last week we heard how Jesus upheld the commandments. This week we reflect on how he calls us to go way beyond them. Commandments and laws are important, but they are always minimal. They describe boundaries, really; they tell us what we can’t do, not what we should do. Laws define bad actors — bad neighbors, bad parents, unethical business people, etc. Laws don’t define a good person. That’s Jesus’ point when he tells his disciples that it is not enough to not kill (last week’s Gospel). We have to put aside anger and learn to forgive and love our enemies. It is not enough to give a little, or serve a little; we need to give more than is merely fair or necessary, and serve not just minimally or occasionally but substantially. For me, one of the best examples of all this is parents. Perhaps without even realizing it they give up freedom, time and energy, and they do it for years, in order to meet the needs of their children. Love stretches them into sacrifices and generous giving, into re-prioritizing what they thought was important before the children arrived. As disciples, our love-commitment to Jesus stretches us too. Can you see how it has done that for you? And is He asking you to stretch some more?

– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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