Reflections - February 17, 2017

“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….Mt. 5:44-45.
 
This Gospel invites us to be bearers of love.  It seems ironic to speak of love in a social environment where we hear on TV daily about killings, thefts, scams and where it is now “glamorous” to present soap operas with drug traffickers showing no fundamental ethical values and respect to the Hispanic TV viewers who have children and families…..
 
What does the Word of God refer to when speaking about love?
 
God reveals to us in His Word that human beings are created in His image and likeness, but He is also wounded by sin that make us selfish and reject our neighbor.
 
In the Old Testament’s Book of Leviticus the Lord tells us:  “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people”. This was a step forward in a social environment where revenge was carried from generation to generation.  These laws were in preparation for the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who tell us:  “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”.
 
This logic presented to us by the Lord to “love our enemies” collides with our attitudes of sin.  How can I treat those who make me suffer well?  How can I respect those who think differently than me?
 
When you need to forgive your neighbor you should exercise your memory, and as Pope Francis says:  “remember those dark moments of your life when the Lord forgave you.  Also exercising the memory helps you to be grateful and it strengthens the heart to carry the cross and forgive your neighbor, the baptized Christians.  “We have been born again by water and the Holy Spirit” yet we sometimes fall into the sins of the world – “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.
 
We are as Paul says:  “the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us”, 1 Cor. 3:16.  This is what gives us the strength to overcome fear and to be bearers of love bringing our values to the world.  We find an example of this in the Apostles.  Peter went from cowardly to becoming a rock of the faith.  Paul went from a fanatical persecutor of Christians into the apostle of the Gentiles.  He said:  “For me to live is Christ and to die for Him is profit”.
 
Let us pray to the Lord through prayer and confession for the conversion of each one of us.