1 kings 21:17-29; Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned; Matthew 5:43-48
Two things of note.
First, Ahab after coming to full realization of the wickedness and evil brought forth from him, replies with humility. His pride has been stripped away and he sits in sackcloth and ashes.
The royal attire which made him stand apart from all the rest is replaced by the sackcloth which unites him to all people of the earth, especially the people that he serves, the cloth of the common man.
Humility is ultimately that virtue or experience that helps us realize we are like everyone else in need of God's mercy.
God's response to Elijah is quite telling, "have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me?"
Think about experiences of humility in our own lives for a moment. When have we humbled ourselves before the Lord? When have we recognized that one thing that unites us all as a human family: the need for God's mercy!
Jesus tell us in today's gospel we should "love our enemies, pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father."
Not many of us have enemies. Not many of us will every experience such realities in life. However, we do encounter people who we consider unlovable. Perhaps this is where Jesus is wanting us to direct our attention. He invites us to love the unlovable, those who we have personally judge unworthy or undeserving of our love for whatever reason, these are the ones who deserve our love in the eyes of God.
For in reality, we know that deserve has nothing to do with it. The question is, "Do we love those who God loves, those for whom his sun shines and rains fall, both on the just and unjust alike.
To be children of our heavenly Father simply means to allow our life to look like his especially in our treatment of others and all.
Be perfect! St Paul tells us that God has perfected those who he is sanctifying.
Perfection is a process by which we become who we are created to be. It is a daily experience of giving and receiving. It is the great adventure of life.
We joyfully push onward with this goal in mind.