Gospel: MT 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 and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Don’t you find God’s ways absurd? Love your enemy. Pray for those who hurt you. Greet not only your brothers and sisters. These are always easier said than done. Besides, continually receding like that would make us look like losers. Yes, losers in the eyes of men but in the eyes of God, we are glorious victors.
God doesn’t want us to lose in a fight with our enemies. He doesn’t want us to fight at all. Instead, He wants us to keep that peace of mind at the end of the day.
Praying instead of hurting back those who hurt us is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength of our faith. It is a manifestation that God lives in us. It means we are compassionate towards our persecutors who probably did not know what they were doing.
If we did love only those who love us, we haven’t truly loved at all. It’s like waiting to receive a gift before giving one. Then, who would start giving if we all wait to receive something first? If we all wait to be loved first, who would start loving?
We become victors if we become the first to achieve peace; the first to show compassion; the first to love; the first to be holy just as our Father in heaven is holy.
These words from Jesus are His way of teaching us to love deeply and truly. It is His way of making us holy and worthy to be called children of God. God’s ways are, indeed, absurd for it is not what we, mere humans, are used to. Absurd, yet, divine.
“What may seem upside down to us
is right side up to God.”