“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, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today’s Gospel presents a beautiful and difficult command: we must love our enemies. Jesus doesn’t let us off the hook with something simpler like, “tolerate your enemies” or, “put up with your enemies while making snide remarks about them in your head.” No, Jesus is clear: we are to love our enemies. Love wills the good of the other; love puts the other first; love values the other the way God does. Loving our family and friends seems easy. Loving enemies – or even loving those who just annoy us – seems a lot harder. Loving those who love us in return is natural. But as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to a supernatural way of loving.
During this season of Lent, how can I re-ignite love for those who have hurt me? How can I pray for them with sincerity? How can I show love without any expectations?
—Maggie Melchior is a convert to the Catholic faith. She currently serves as Coordinator of New Evangelization and Faith Formation for a parish in the Diocese of Green Bay.
“The love of a single heart can make a world of difference.”
― Immaculee Ilibagiza, survivor of the Rwandan genocide