Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Both readings in today’s mass stress the same theme and amplify yesterday’s subject for contemplation: the demands of fraternal love. Paul outlines the spirit of the Christian community, as opposed to the secular community. And in the Gospel Our Lord invites us to be motivated by a love that is generous, unconditional and unlimited.
We are to love all, even those we do not like and who do not love, much less like us. How do we do this? By prayer. Prayer has the effect of opening, enlarging our hearts so that we can come to accept, if not embrace those we find unlikable. Prayer teaches us to act like Jesus, who on the cross, prayed even for those who put him there. It is from him that we learn generous, unconditional, unlimited love. We become more attached to God, our Father, Father to every person. Result: the more we are brothers and sisters to all, the more we become sons and daughters to our Father in heaven. That’s what the Holy Spirit teaches us in prayer.
To “be compassionate as your Father” means to live each day the spirit of the Our Father: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Pray to the Holy Spirit to show us how that can be done.