A reading from the Book of Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

REFLECTION: “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him."

I have had the pleasure to spend a week with my grandkids. And as they tired from the many activities, it was easy for them to get upset and angry if they did not get their way. But they would ask for forgiveness of one another and then hug. Giggling, off they would go to further adventures. Recognizing the source of their anger made it easier for the adults to handle their misbehavior.

If we want to follow Jesus we are asked to be like Him in our lives. It is normal to dislike people who oppose us; it is a lot harder to find that which unites us. It is normal to lose our temper and patience and recognize them for what they are and immediately reconciling those feelings with God and with the person.

Anger is a normal reaction to offenses--both actual or imagined. It begins as an annoyance. Then comes the resentment, then anger, and if allowed to fester hatred follows. Hatred is the sin. We don't wake up one day with hatred for the person. It happens in small increments. It could be from something one does or does not do. We hold in our reaction and chalk it up to annoyance. Then when it happens again, we expect a different recourse and now an apology. When there is none, we harbor resentment. We are now angry and look for more "proof" of their annoying and uncaring ways. This festered anger finally erupts with our reaction to a minor event, or we hold on to our own self pity grievances and we lose a friendship. And now a good relationship is gone and most likely will not be the same if reconciled. Yet, we are asked by God to not bear hatred in our heart for those who anger us.

How can we do this? Communication!! Tell the person your views, work out your feelings and see where your thinking is wrong. Find out why that person is annoying. I can only love with the love that comes from God. Ask God for His abundant graces, ask your spiritual director to guide you in your feelings. Pray for a good relationship with one another. Find the good in that person and if still not able to reconcile, then give it all to God. Sometimes, avoidance of the person if we cannot improve the situation is the best we can expect of ourselves.

Relationships are hard to start, harder to nourish and maintain. Ask God for the needed actions to grow them each day. Develop a relationship with your priest. Get to know him, understand him and the duties he is called to do. Communicate with love and always pray daily the Prayer for Priest.

God Bless You

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