Sunday Scriptures

Praying That All of God’s People Come Together

By Father Alonzo Cox

During the month of February, we as a nation celebrate Black History Month. We celebrate the accomplishments that people of color have made throughout our society.

We continue to look ahead to the future, as young Black boys and girls make significant strides in building up their communities, rooted in equality, peace and justice.

We also look to the past, never forgetting those who died, many of whom shed their blood, fighting for equality, peace and justice.

We must never forget the pain and anguish that people of color suffered through the sin of racism and discrimination in our country. As Christians, we must continue to pray for that day when all of God’s people will come together, not focusing on what divides us, but uniting ourselves in Christ.

Our scripture readings today though challenge us to a greater service of love. In our gospel, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate you and to pray for those who mistreat you.

As I reflect upon these words from the Lord, I think of my grandmother, who endured the horrors of racism and discrimination in the 50’s and 60’s in the south.

I think of the stories she told her grandchildren about standing up to those who would prevent her from using clean public bathrooms and those who would hose her and her classmates with with water when they engaged in peaceful protests. Through all of this, Jesus calls us to love these people.

To truly be a disciple of the Lord, we must open our hearts to love all our brothers and sisters. We know that love will always defeat hate. Jesus is challenging us to not allow the hatred and darkness of this world to overcome the light and love that only he can bring to this world.

Each of us are called to be instruments of God’s love within our community. To love one another is to embrace each other with the heart of Christ the Lord.

The Lord also calls us to a deeper sense of prayer. We must pray for those who mistreat or even persecute us, that the Holy Spirit will show them the error of their ways.

My grandmother would say to us, “the greatest thing we can do for one another, especially those who mistreat us, is to pray for them, because prayer is stronger than physical retaliation.”

St. Paul reminds us in today’s second reading that we must bear the image of the heavenly one. We must live our lives rooted in Christ so that he may radiate through us to others.

Jesus is calling us to bring his love and mercy to a world that is in dire need of it. We can no longer fight violence with more violence. We must resist injustice without turning to violence. All of this must begin with prayer.

We are all children of God, created in his image and likeness. As brothers and sisters in Christ, each of us are called by the Lord to love one another in the same way that he loves us.

It is our hope that Christ will lead all of us to the Kingdom of Heaven, where there will be no division, violence or war. May the light of Christ continue to shine forth until he comes in glory.     

Readings for Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23

1 Corinthians 15:45-49

Luke 6:27-38

Father Cox is the pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish, Bedford-Stuyvesant and coordinator for the vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns for the Diocese of Brooklyn.