You have made Israel to sin.
A reading from the first Book of Kings (1 Kings 21: 17-29)
[After the death of Naboth,] the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed, and also taken possession?”’ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.””’ Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon you; I will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel; and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the bounds of Jezreel.’ Any one belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and any one of his who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat.” (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He did very abominably in going after idols, as the Ainorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the sons of Israel.) And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about dejectedly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the evil upon his house.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 51 :3-4.5-6ab.11 and 16 (R. see 3a)
R/. Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your merciful love;
according to your great compassion,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me completely from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin. R.
My transgressions, truly I know them;
Any sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done. R.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
Rescue me from bloodshed, O God,
God of my salvation,
and then my tongue shall ring out your justice. R.
ALLELUIA John 13:34
Alleluia. A new commandment I give to you, says the Lord, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. Alleluia.
“Love your enemies.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5:43-48)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Dale Carnegie said: “When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness.” Jesus in today’s gospel tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Everett Worthington in his book, five steps to Forgiveness, suggests: “We can’t hurt the perpetrator by being unforgiving, but we can set ourselves free by forgiving”. As Disciples of Christ, we have no business to operate on unforgiving attitudes. The decision to not offer reconciliation and forgiveness is a decision to suffer and live without God in our lives. What makes us true Christians is our ability to love our enemies and pray for them.