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What’s the telltale sign you’re a Christian?

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 06/14/22

What makes Christians different lies in what Jesus asks of us precisely in today's Gospel reading

Today’s readings are here.

Reading: Matthew 5:43-48

Reflection

How should the world see us as being different from everyone else? What’s the telltale Christian characteristic that should distinguish us? Building bigger churches than others? Imposing our influence on others? Cultivating an ideal of greatness as the world does?

Christians know very well that their homeland is not here and it makes no sense to conceive of it as one more thing among other things. What makes Christians different lies in what Jesus asks of us precisely in today’s Gospel reading:

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Loving while expecting nothing in return is what makes Christians different. Loving without any reciprocation. Always loving. Loving first. Loving to the very end. Loving when it isn’t convenient. Loving as the sole reasoning of our every strategy. Loving as Christ does, and not as the world does or as we may have experienced in our own life in the past.

Christian perfection does not consist in never making mistakes, but in the perfection of love. Indeed, a person who loves resembles God more than ever before. 

~

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese of Italy and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Aleteia is proud to offer this commentary on the readings for daily Mass, in collaboration with Fr. Epicoco.

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