Homily For The Seventh Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year A

Love Without Borders

Readings: 1st: Lev 19, 1-2. 17-18; Ps 102, 1-4. 8-13; 2nd: 1Cor 3, 16-23; Gos: Matt 5:38-48  

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, or canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.


Today, the church focuses on this fundamental theological virtue, Love. We celebrate the compassionate Lord and love. As we celebrate Christ, who is love, the church calls us to be like Him. This is because we are built into Christ, like stones built into a temple erected to give glory to God.

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Love is a very simple word. It is made up of just four alphabets (L-O-V-E). Despite its simplicity, it is one of the most challenging virtues to practice. This is because it is easier to talk about love than practice. Saint Augustine said: “Love and do whatever you wish to do.” Hence, any word or action not motivated by love is simply a flatus vocis (empty). We are supposed to be “Ile Ife” (house of love), from which love flows and is dispensed to others. So, to be a disciple of Christ is to love unconditionally without boundaries.

Today’s first reading focuses strongly on the love of one’s neighbor. It suffices to note that it did not specify any condition our neighbor must meet before we could love him. In order words, it has to be unconditional. In this reading, God tells us the best way to achieve it: “Love your neighbor as yourself!” This means being true to others as to oneself. It is important to note that a selfish person cannot love others.

In the second reading, Paul exalts the Corinthians and us. He advanced an argument to help us live in love as one family. Hence, he reminds us that we are God’s temple. That is the house of love. So, we should not destroy this temple because it belongs to Christ. The temple could be destroyed if it lacks love but harbors division and hatred.

In the gospel, Jesus continues his teaching and discourse on the commands of God. He takes love to another dimension: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Honestly, this is hard teaching. However, Paul reminds us: “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” (Phil 4, 13).

Today, Christ gives us a new command. Being able to love irrespective of many difficulties is a mark of a faithful Christian. Love unites because it forgives, tolerates, and corrects gently and patiently (1Cor 13). A community that lacks true love never progresses. Likewise, a family that lacks love never stands. An individual who lacks love cannot love even oneself.

Jesus preached love and generosity towards our enemies. Unfortunately, by nature, we are vindictive. However, vindictiveness only corrupts our hearts and grieves our spirit. We should emulate Christ, who prayed for his enemies: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23, 34). We must be willing to leave retaliation in God’s hands. Christ did not threaten His accusers. Instead, he showed them love, because love is the root of life. It is the medicine that heals every heart.

Finally, Today the psalmist tells us that: “The Lord is compassion and love…and rich in mercy” Here, the Psalmist brings together three essential virtues love, compassion and mercy. These are attributes of God. Therefore, as images of God, they are supposed to be the attributes of every one of us. May love, peace, and compassion reign in our hearts.

Peace be with you!



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