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WE MUST LOVE AND PRAY FOR OUR ENEMIES

Father Francis's picture
Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 21:17-29 & Mt. 5:43-48

When the wife of King Ahab murdered Naboth, so that her husband could take over his vineyard, Ahab was guilty of approving his wife's handling of the whole sordid affair. God sent Elijah to Ahab to tell him of God's displeasure and the punishment that would be meted out to him and his wife.

What should not surprise us is that God delayed His sentence in order to give Ahab a chance to get his life in order. This is evidence of the truth that God loved Ahab despite his terrible sins, and yearned for his complete and final repentance.

In today's Gospel reading we see how Jesus, God's Son, teaches us the ways of His Father of loving our enemies. He tells us that we are to pray for those who persecute us. If we love those who love us, we are doing nothing different from the pagans who also love their kind. But we claim to be children of His Father, who have to be different; like our Father we must love everyone, even our enemies. It is a truism that God does not just allow the sun and rain to fall only on the good. It falls on everyone - good and bad alike!

Jesus practised what He preached. He loved His enemies even as He was being crucified by them. He died for us while we were sinners. He did not wait until we could somehow be counted worthy of His death.

Jesus knows that it is no easy task to love our enemies and those who persecute us. But we should not complain that God is asking us to do something which He Himself did not do. We have heard the teaching of Jesus. We have also witnessed how He loved and prayed for His enemies. That should spur us on to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Lord Jesus, may we follow Your example, and love and forgive our enemies. On Your word we know that they, too, are sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

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