Love Your Enemies

Challenge: Do an act of charity today (e.g. thinking well of someone, complimenting someone, serving or helping someone with their needs, etc.).
by Father Timothy Walsh, LC | Source: Catholic.net

June 17, 2008
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 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."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I praise you for your infinite glory. You have loved me beyond all measure. Fill my heart with your grace. Increase in me your gifts of faith, hope and charity. Help me to be humble and recognize that without you I can do nothing. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that he can enlighten and guide me on my path throughout this day.

Petition: Father, help me to show love to everyone you place on my path today.

1. Friends and Enemies. “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” This is a common attitude: We cherish our families, we value our friends, and we appreciate the company of those around us. But we don’t like those who cause us problems, who make us uncomfortable, or who disagree with our beliefs: the young beggar washing windshields at the stoplight, the arrogant colleague who always seems to be bossing us around, the religious fanatic blowing himself up and killing innocent bystanders. What does Jesus, our model in everything, think about all of this?

2. Love beyond Reason. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Beautiful words. Beautiful ideal. But isn’t this too hard? Isn’t this exaggerated? You have to be reasonable, right!? If Christ hadn’t done it first, giving us a living example by calling Judas “Friend” as he betrayed him (cf. Matthew 26:50) and praying for those who were torturing him (cf. Luke 23:34), we certainly could plead “reasonableness.” But Christ lived what he preached. And he’s asking the same of us.

3. God Is Love. “That you may be children of your heavenly Father.” Jesus, the Child of God, is inviting us to love those around us just as he and his Father have loved and continue to love us: gratuitously. Love is not just a response; it is an initiative. It is a gift; a gift that always has its origin in God. And our Father wants us, his children, to participate in his goodness and joy by making his love pass through our little hearts towards all those around us, be they “friend or foe.”

Conversation with Christ: Jesus Christ, you are Lord of life and history. You are the Lord of my life and my history, and you have my life in the palm of your hand. Help me to be more like you! Help me to love like you: freely and to the point of giving myself to others until the day of my death.

Resolution: I will do an act of charity today (e.g. thinking well of someone, complimenting someone, serving or helping someone with their needs, etc.).

 



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