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Love of enemies

Gospel Reading: Mt 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 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.”

Love your enemies
Jesus tells the disciples to love those whom they are told to hate by culture and religion. This Galilean preacher seems out of this mind. No preacher has ever taught to love one’s enemies. At least, if Jesus does not like fighting back, he should recommend running away from them. But, he says, his disciples should approach their enemies and take care of them.

This is a very difficult teaching, but we have to accept it. Jesus gives the reason for his disposition. The disciples should imitate the Father in heaven. God loves everyone and does not discriminate. He makes the sun rise on the bad and the good, and sends rain for the benefit of sinners and saints.

Christians can do the same if they want to. They go up to a higher level of magnanimity than always be on the instinctual fighting mode where there is no forgiveness and reconciliation. Love can be shown through prayers. We ask God to remedy our difficulties with other people and turn them into friends.

Legend has it that Francis of Assisi turned into an innocent lamb the wolf of Gubbio that had been terrorizing the townspeople, eating livestock and killing men. By assuring food for the wolf, Francis established peace in that area in central Italy.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.