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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 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: " love your enemies"

"But I don't have any enemies...." we say.

Lovebirds are small parrots native to Africa. They form deep bonds with their mates and will usually just focus on them. That is in their nature. Sometimes they prefer not to interact with humans when they are together.

Humans in love are referred as" lovebirds". When in love we can be so endeared to another that we lose sight of others. We want to spend all the time with them, or talk about them and even overlook their faults.

Unfortunately, it is in our nature to love ourselves, to be tempted, and to not want to be around someone that we don't like.

Some of us have the illusion that we are liked by all and get along with all. Jesus knew differently. He knew how we would not love and therefore, told us His command to" love our enemies". He taught us to ask forgiveness for our trespasses in the Lord's Prayer.

Do we speak ill of another? Do we refuse to cooperate and dissent? Do others villify us? Gossip about us? Do we refuse to work together? Do some people draw us closer to sin than others?

We naturally avoid people we don't like. But Jesus is calling us to be like Him. How can we do that?

Through His Divine Grace.

He wants us to love our enemies so as to transform them. Not to love them because they are our enemies but to love them so they can be converted to friends of God and ours. Jesus forgave His enemies and wanted nothing but for them to be with Him.

Yes, we oppose the sin, not condone the violence. We cannot shut out the enemy. But we are to pray, sacrifice and bring them closer to God.

God Bless You.


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