Homiletic Reflection by Jamie T. Phelps, OP Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time Scripture Readings: 1 Corinthians 8:1B-7, 11-13 Psalm 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 23-24 Luke 6:27-38 Our Context: Raging fires in the U.S. and in migrant camps in Greece and weather on the West Coast; the coronavirus pandemic, which according to Harvard University research is fatally impacting Black and Latino citizens and immigrants in Northern Virginia, Washington DC and other states; the rise of Black deaths at the hands of policemen; the hopeful response of the multi-racial Black Lives Matter marches challenging racial and class domination and mistreatment of Blacks and other oppressed groups (poor whites, Hispanics, Asians) duplicated contextually across the world. I must recognize every person I meet as my sister and brother created by God. When I sin against my brothers and sisters and wound their consciences, weak as they are, I am sinning against Christ. I must love my enemies and do good to them and lend expecting nothing back; I will be a child of the Most High. God is merciful and is kind to me even when I am ungrateful. God just asks that I stop judging and condemning. God asks that I be merciful. God asks that I recognize myself and my enemy as children of God. God will continue to help me and all who love our neighbors as ourselves to faithfully embody divine, universal, merciful, and forgiving love to each person without exception. God, my Father and Mother, by your indwelling presence empower me to love those who see or treat me as enemy. Help me to love them with the forgiving love that you show me. Help me be merciful to those who show me no mercy. Help me to recognize that I have no enemies, but only estranged sisters and brothers who fail to recognize the existential truth that all human beings are sisters and brothers created by your loving will. Help me cease judging and condemning those who judge and condemn me. Help me love and forgive all my sisters and brothers and enable all my sisters and brothers to forgive me. LET US PRAY: (a paraphrase of Psalm 139) O LORD, you have probed me and you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar. Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works… Probe me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. See if my way is crooked, and lead me in the way of old.