The Gospel Today
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Mt. 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):
I think the commandment of loving our enemies in today’s gospel is a one of the most difficult teachings of Christ. May be one would also say it’s unreasonable. The pain is even more because most of the time, those whom we become enemies with are people we consider as friends. How can you love such a person who betrayed or broke the trust that you value so much? Some would say it is better to hate the person and to take revenge.
However, Jesus Christ himself gave us an example of how he did love those who persecuted him to the point of dying on the cross. While He was still hanging on the cross, He prayed and asked for forgiveness for those people to His Father. Furthermore, when He was betrayed and left by His disciples in the midst of his sufferings, He never questioned them or insulted them. In all the circumstances Jesus Christ showed us the kind of love that we should imitate. It is true that the standard of God is high but as His children we should not be contented with the minimum. We are given the grace of the Holy Spirit so we should aim to live in love and compassion toward our neighbors.
I believe the challenge of the gospel is for us to examine ourselves before God. One way or the other, we are always trusted by God. In those times we also cause pain and hurts to God. We also betrayed Him by choosing to do evil over good. Did we ever experience that he treated us as enemies? Did His blessings and graces stop to pour out in us? Never! Rather, He even intensifies His love and compassion. He will even celebrate a feast whenever we return and turn away from our sinfulness.