Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Jesus disarms us by asking that we pray for our enemies.
We will never be perfect because only God is perfect. We are being perfected, not losing sight of the goal—to be like God—especially in our love for each other.
That’s the reason that Jesus took our human condition—to show us how to love. All the way to the cross, Jesus was consistent in His love, especially for the ones who crucified Him. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” In our society of high level lawsuits, we do not forgive easily. Little wonder that Jesus got into so much trouble for saying that we must love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us. Nice words, but far from reality. If we don’t have an enemy, we go and look for one. The first death recorded in the Bible was by murder—brother killed his brother—which set the pace for what was going to happen. More wars have been fought in the name of God, in the name of religion than for any other cause. Consider what happens when each opposing group thinks that God is on their side. As if God cared more for a particular country or flag or nationality than another. God made the world and everyone in the world and He wants us to get along. Not only to co-exist—but to love one another. Nothing unites people more than to have a common enemy. Unfortunately, we forget about the scars that war leaves behind. Freedom, pro-life, equal rights make good slogans to win elections. However, the best principles mean nothing when there is no love in our heart. Love is the most powerful force in the Universe—not weapons—love. Love is what generated us into existence. The love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father and the Holy Spirit—A Community of Persons that has forever been. Therefore, we are created with the same relational desire to love. Usually an enemy is someone we do not love. But along came Jesus who said, “Love your enemies.” He presumed that all of us have more than one.
Takes a lot of energy to have an enemy. Because having an enemy goes against our nature. Yet, the sin of pride is what causes us to think ourselves better than others. Pride leads us to isolation, which can become diabolical. Wanting to be alone is different than not liking anyone. Hermits sought to be alone in order to be more in communion with God and with humanity—very different from saying, “I don’t need anyone.” The more that we look inside ourselves, the more we discover that we are all connected—all related. If we want to be like Christ, we cannot have enemies.
Jesus did not make a request, He gave a directive: “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.” Imagine how different our world would be if every night we prayed for those who have hurt us. How different we would be if we made an effort to love the ones we’d rather avoid. Having to leave our guns at the door makes us uncomfortable. Many are proud that we have the largest weapons in the world, and we don’t want anyone else to have them. Jesus disarms us. If we begin to love our enemies, to pray for our persecutors, there won’t be anyone left to fight. The disarmament starts at home. Homes are where some of the most serious wars take place. There is nothing domestic about violence. Police are often called to settle life-threatening arguments between spouses, family members or next-door neighbors. Jesus invites us to lower our weapons. In a family nobody wins a fight. Truth is that we are all family. Regardless of last name, wealth, educational background—to God we are all His children. Therefore, we need to be the change that we want to see. Peace happens when we are willing to negotiate. Constant forgiveness—over and over—every day is necessary in the life of a Christian. Since God has forgiven us our many transgressions, we need to forgive each other. Forgiveness is the gateway to true freedom.
In a world confused by hatred, greed, resentments, we are called to be prophetic—to be different. The least we can do is to try to love our enemies, pray for people who have hurt us.