TUESDAY, ELEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
2 Cor 8:1-9; Ps 146:1-2,5-9; Mt 5:43-48
PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES
The Sermon on the Mount is a compendium of Christ’s doctrine. In today’s Gospel passage Jesus presents to us the ethics of personal relationships. He asks his followers to love not only their neighbours and family members but even their enemies. This demand is not based on human nature but on the example of God who gives his love, care and protection to the just and sinners alike.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus showed us how to love our enemies. The hands that healed the sick and blessed the children, and the feet that went about doing good, were pierced by nails. In that hour of agony, Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It is only our experience of the love and mercy of Jesus that can help us impart it even to our enemies. We become more God-like, when we learn to forgive as God forgives and to love as God loves.
An enemy may be someone we live with or have to work with; someone we find difficult to relate with, whose behaviours irritates us. St Therese of Lisieux teaches us true love of our enemy:
“A holy nun of our community was a constant source of annoyance to me. Unwilling to yield to my natural antipathy, I endeavoured to treat her as I should my most cherished friend. Whenever I met her, I prayed for her, at the same time offering to God her virtues and merits. I tried to render her as many services as I could and when tempted to make a disagreeable answer, I made haste to smile and change the conversation. She said to me one day with a beaming countenance ‘Tell me Sister Therese what is that attracts you to me so strongly? I never met you without being welcomed with your most gracious smile. Ah what attracted me was Jesus hidden in the depth of her soul, Jesus who makes sweet even that which is most bitter.” (From her autobiography, Story of a Soul)
Response: My soul, give praise to the Lord.
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