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.”
We finished our first day of the class here at IPF with the seminarians today. We talked about being beloved sons of God the Father. This is the foundation identity for all of us – we are all beloved sons and daughters of a loving Father. When we encounter this kind of unconditional love our lives are never the same.
Jesus must have known how difficult it would be for us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Yet practicing these things leads us to holiness. It moves us toward dying to ourselves, our needs, our desires and living our life for Christ.
Jesus showed us what love is all about – He laid down His life willingly on the cross. He calls us to love sacrificially as well. It is easy for us to love those who love us. Well, not always… Even those who love us can test our patience at times. But it is easier to love those who love us than it is to love our enemies.
The evil one wants us to hold anger in our hearts. “Resentment” means “to feel over and over again”. He wants us to think about the times we’ve been hurt. He wants us to plan revenge. He wants us to seek a way to get back at those who have hurt us.
This is not the way of Jesus. He teaches us to love, to forgive and to let go. This is what leads to true peace, because holding rage and anger in our hearts only hurts ourselves. Forgiveness leads to freedom in our hearts. And it opens up space in our hearts to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and peace.
Is there anyone in my life that has hurt me and I’m holding a grudge?
Do I need to forgive someone, love them and let go of the hurt?
As I read this Gospel, where does my heart rest?
Where do I feel unrest?
Is the Lord calling me to action?
Have a blessed day!
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