Gospel: Mt 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard, that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: love your enemies; and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good; and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust.
“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“
Loving The Unlovable
We wrap up the first week of our Lenten meditations on becoming holy following the example of Jesus and his Cross with the distinctive character of Christian love: loving even the unlovable, our “enemies“ and those who do not love us in return.
Indeed, that which distinguishes the Christian love from human love is that the former is a love that puts no limits and is so inclusive. The latter, on the other hand puts boundaries to the extent of its love. Human love finds its expression in the saying, “If you are good to me, I will be good to you.“ Implied is that I can be your friend, but I can be your worst enemy if you hurt me!
There is a “Leveling up“ in the Law of Love. The “agape“ love that Jesus invites his disciples to is a love that Jesus will show to them and to the world. From the Cross, Jesus would pray for all, including those who would crucify him, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.“
As we end the first week, consider: who has hurt you the most this year? Who among your loved ones has hurt you the most? (Because, all too often, those who hurt us the most are those closest to us!) Are you ready to stretch out your hands to forgive and love again?