Thursday, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time          

          They tell of an old Chinese emperor, who wanted to conquer the land of his enemies and erase them from the face of the earth. Then some time later people saw him sitting down and eating and joking with his enemies. “But didn’t you tell us,” the people said, “that you wanted to do away with all your enemies?” “That’s right,” the emperor replied. “I did do away with them.” “I made them my friends.”

          That is a nice practical application of Jesus’ teaching in today’s gospel: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

          Let us put a face and a name into the word ‘enemy’. For us to really feel the impact of this teaching, we have to name names. In the spirit of humility and with the desire to be healed, let us do this simple exercise of “fill in the blanks.” Love ________, ________, _______, ______, _______, ________ (the names of your enemies). Do good to those who ____________________________ (how they show their great dislike of you). Bless those who _________________________________ (the profanities and evil things they say to you). Pray for those who ______________________________ (the abuse, maltreatment and harm you experience).

          This is not intended to make “the past come alive,” open some old wounds, and feel the pain again. We are doing this exercise in the spirit of prayer by lifting them up to the Lord, humbly asking him to heal our wounds caused by our enemies.

          Included in the list of enemies we should love and pray for are the following: those who have deprived us of their concern and care – the significant people in our life who should have loved us. those who have hurt us (and continue to hurt us) – physically, emotionally, psychologically… those who have damaged our good name and reputation – with lies, false accusations, gossips…those who have swindled us, who have cheated on us who have been unfaithful to us who have betrayed our trust…Just thinking of our enemies – their names and faces – is enough to arouse the desire for revenge and retaliation in us. It is at this precise moment that we are invited by the Lord Jesus: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

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