Thursday, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time         

            “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”

            A basic question we have is: Why love our enemies? One practical answer is: Because hate destroys the hater. Hating our enemies is definitely harmful to our hearts. and it causes psychosomatic illnesses. It spoils our disposition; it ruins our attitude; it wreaks havoc on our mental health. It affects our relationships in a very bad way and it influences our actions in a very negative way.

            Yes, “loving our enemies” is very difficult – it is one of the hardest things to do. But think of it this way: “Loving your enemy” is good for your health – for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. We have to emphasize though that to love is not necessarily to like. Even though we do not like them, we should love our enemies by wanting “the best in life that God can help us make available for them.” In other words, Jesus is not asking for nice feelings, which we cannot control, toward our enemies. He is asking us to want nothing but the highest good for someone… that we should take some initiative to reach out in forgiveness, instead of seeking revenge, retaliation – or “an eye for an eye.”

            What can really move us to go beyond our hurt and angry feelings is the realization that God wants so much more for us than to simply live a life based on our feelings. Being angry due to getting hurt is not all that enjoyable, is it? In fact, it can be the cause of much misery. It can make our lives unhappy and unpleasant. If we understand and really take to heart Jesus’ command to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who mistreat us, we will see that this is the path out of the misery. We will start to realize that giving in to hurt feelings, returning anger for anger or hate for hate only makes the wound deeper and more painful.

            On the other hand, if we can love when we are hated, when we are cursed, when we are mistreated, we suddenly discover that love in this case is powerful. It is love that goes way beyond any feeling. It is true love purified and given freely as a gift from God. It is charity at the highest level and it is a charity that fills us with an abundance of authentic joy. (John Paul Thomas)

            “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”

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