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Be Merciful

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday (February 19, 2023), Jesus tells his disciples, "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect". Matthew 5:48.

The Old Testament reading for Sunday says, "The Lord said to Moses, ... 'Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.'" Leviticus 19:1-2. The last line of this Old Testament reading is also quoted by Jesus (see Mark 12:29-32) as the summary of the entire law: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Leviticus 19:18.

Isn't that a tall order! Be holy, perfect, and love God and neighbor!

How can we translate these goals into daily decisions or actions?

Perhaps we can be holy and perfect, and love God and neighbor, by striving to be merciful to every one we meet.

When we serve our neighbors out of love, we are saying Yes to God, and allowing Him to use us as a channel of His Mercy. By cooperating in His Mercy, His Mercy transforms us into Himself, perfecting us, making us holy.

As Fr. Karl Rahner said, we also can see Jesus looking at us through the eyes of our neighbors when we serve them out of love. Are we not being perfected and made holy by seeking Jesus' gaze through our neighbor?

As a challenge for this week, strive to see Jesus in every one you meet. If they are experiencing any suffering, ask if you may enter into that suffering with them and help them bear it. Ask God for the grace to see your neighbor as he sees them, and to transform and perfect you along the way.

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