A reading from the Gospel of Matthew: 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: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.”
To be children of one’s Father is to acknowledge the resemblance of the father distinctly in his offsprings. We all look like someone - our mother, our father, perhaps a grandparent or an uncle. It is a reality in the natural biological order of the world. But do we look like God?
Here Jesus Christ teaches us how to look like God, how to bear His resemblance, and most importantly, how to be children of God: The Kingdom of God belongs to those who hold and live a resemblance of the way of God. Children learn from imitation of their environment and those closest to them - in speech, in activities and in habits. In the same way, we must learn to create an environment in our own lives in which we can be close to God in order to imitate Him.
To learn to love our enemies or pray for those who persecute us are extremely difficult teachings, but if we remain close to Jesus Christ, we will learn to imitate Him. First, we allow ourselves to be like children - simple, open and unassuming.
Lord Jesus, remain close to us today, help us to be simple, and teach us to imitate You in all things. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my Heart like unto thine.