Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
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.
“Love your enemies.”
There is surely no more difficult commandment in scripture than Jesus’ words: “Love your enemies; and pray for those who persecute you.” It is the most human instinct in the world to wish harm to those who wish us harm. By the same token, it is natural to love those who love us in return. Jesus is set- ting a supernatural challenge. And yet that is precisely the distinguishing characteristic of a Christian. And if this were widely practiced by Christians it would represent an extraordinary revolution in values.
Of course love in action is not a matter of sentimental feelings. It may mean standing up to in- justice, and resisting the perpetrators of violence and corruption. Jesus does not deny the existence of enemies. And so we must understand that he is pro- posing a way of confronting or even resisting our enemies that does not dehumanize them or despair of their conversion. After all, God makes the sun rise on both the wicked and the good.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019