Saturday of the First Week of Lent - 2012
The words from the gospel are another part of the Sermon on the Mount. Again for many of us these words and what Jesus means by them may be a challenge. Jesus does not ask easily at times!
We have learned that "God is love." Sure. It is easy for him. He is "built" that way. Can you imagine him being anything but love? If this is really who God is, then he must have love in his heart, his Spirit, his being for the young man who shot at a table of fellow students in the northern Ohio high school earlier this past week. Likewise he must love the perpetrators of the 9/11 horror that severely hurt so many families. He loves the priest who refused communion during her mother's funeral to a woman who is gay. And can we say that God does not love those enemies who kill our American troops? I don't think he can.
So, in this reading God, through his Son, is calling upon you and me to have within our hearts a true concern for our enemies -- that the electric chair, not a well-guided bullet and so forth. We are called to be a living imitation of the God who created all of us. Surely the actions of people who hurt, offend or insult others is hurtful, painful and frustrating. It does not mean, however, that we have to bring ourselves to their level. Even if only in my heart and I mind, God is calling you and me to have compassion for the most despicable of humanity. He wants you and me to pray for that person's healing of the deep-seated hatred that is part of his/her experience of life.
The real question might be this: Do I realize that my becoming hate-filled does not have the first impact upon a horrific and harming person? I am the one who brings suffering ... to myself. Yes, as hard as it is to become more than superficial with this Love Like God Loves idea, it is our calling as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Remember one of the first directives in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the peacemakers; they will be called children of God!