Tuesday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time           

            Abraham Lincoln was once asked about his attitude toward his enemies. “Why do you try to make friends of them? You should try to destroy them.” Lincoln replied: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make them friends?”

            That is a nice practical application of Jesus’ teaching in today’s gospel: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…” This is, certainly, the most radical teaching of Jesus. The ‘enemies’ Jesus is referring to are those who hate us, who wish us evil, and are even ready to hurt us, even kill us!

            The devotional book Sacred Space has this commentary on today’s gospel: “Before Jesus came, God was portrayed as destroying the wicked.” “But Jesus portrays God as pouring out good things on wicked people as well as good people.” “This seems like extravagant madness.” “But when we come to the Passion we find Jesus doing what he talks about here: He pours out divine love on everyone, bad and good.” “He prays for his enemies.

            Jesus shows once again how high the standards are in the community of disciples he is establishing. This new community is no mere human one: at the heart of it is God. So all its relationships will have a divine quality. If we want to be “children of our Father in heaven” our hearts must embrace our enemies in genuine love.

            The Lord emphasizes that the easy option is not the correct one. How simple to love and be happy with those who love you! But the kingdom of God is much bigger than that: you must love all.

            The test for us is this: Do you love those who do not love you? Kaya ba nating magmahal nang walang pagsusukat, tulad ng pagmamahal ng Diyos? The greatest test of our love is our ability to love our enemies. I can only say that I have already learned to truly love – love as willing the good of the other – when I have learned this love of enemies – praying for those who persecute me.

            Let us end with a prayer: Lord Jesus, You call me out of my comfort zone, and You want me to be as God is: ever forgiving and ever loving. You want me to realize that my growth is measured by the breadth of my love. Help us, then, to grow in love. Amen.

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