Gospel 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 and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
REFLECTION: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.”
If you live long enough, you will experience persecution for being a Christian, misunderstandings of your intentions, and injustice. Sometimes the pain is personal and sometimes it hurts because you are associated by God’s love. When you are broken-hearted, give your sorrow to God and know you have joined Jesus on the cross. Just imagine being on the cross, looking down on your offender.
When Jesus was on the cross, he looked down upon his Mother Mary and the Apostle John; but we can’t forget, he also looked down upon all the others who wanted him dead. He looked down on skeptics and unbelievers. He saw lukewarm souls who were busy with their own lives and did not want to conform to the teachings of God. They greatly misunderstood Jesus and yet he forgave them and continued his mission for our salvation.
Can we continue to forgive and follow the will of our heavenly Father? As Christians, we should set out on our mission to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect and bring others to Christ through our sacrifice. It is relatively easy to be one with Jesus when we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus during mass. However, if we are always ready to be united with Christ, we would be willing to hang on the cross with our Lord. We would be willing to forgive our offenders and become perfect.
Let us pray for priests, who find themselves on the cross, to have sacrificial love burning in their hearts for their flock. May God give them the strength to be perfect.