Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time: And Jesus said: “Love Your Enemies”

Hatred kills. There is nothing earth shaking about that statement. Wars demonstrate this. There are people who hate other people and who do everything they can to eliminate the those people.

Feb 23, 2020

Hatred kills. There is nothing earth shaking about that statement. Wars demonstrate this. There are people who hate other people and who do everything they can to eliminate the those people. There are atrocities taking place every day. The innocent, particularly children, die. I’ve been to London three times, and all three times a bomb went off. This is the result of centuries of hatred between the English and the Irish. But we don’t have to go so far to find hatred. People are being attacked on our American highways, in the cities and even in the suburbs, all due to hatred. The Klu Klux Klan, Skinheads and other Fascist orientated groups feed on hatred.

Hatred kills.

There are two victims of hatred: the person who is physically hurt and the person who hates. The foremost victim of hatred is the person who hates. Hatred transforms a person from a compassionate human being to a person whose main concern is to seek vengeance on someone who the person feels has wronged him/her. Life is consumed with the desire for retaliation and reprisal. Maybe this vengeance will not be seen in a physical attack. It very well may result in a verbal attack or a destruction of another person’s reputation. The fact is that the person who hates has transformed his or her life. This person cannot be the loving person Christ called him or her to be.

Hatred kills.

If God is love, than how can a Christian hate? The Christian who hates is sacrificing Christianity for the sake of the hate. Again, the Christian who hates is the first victim  of hate.

Hatred kills.

“But, Father”, you say, “I have really been treated poorly by my ex-husband or wife, by my sister-in-law or brother-in-law. Every meeting is a battle with all sorts of nasty things emanating from this person I am supposed to love. How am I supposed to handle this situation?” Well, we have got to let go of the past. We cannot let the past destroy us. We can still love those who have hurt us. In fact, we have to love them. Perhaps it was with tongue in cheek that St Paul tells us and the Romans to love our enemies because it will drive them crazy: “if your enemies are hun gry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” (Romans 12:20). What drives them crazy is that it is difficult to respond to kindness with nastiness. Many will continue to try to be nasty, but it won’t be easy.

Still, the call to love those who hurt us does not mean that we should seek their company so we can endure further hurt. Sometimes it is just the best thing to have less contact with someone who has caused us bad feelings. The  important thing is that we limit our contact, not to hurt the other person but to control the feelings within us which can lead to the destruction of our own lives through hatred.

We cannot let hatred kill us.  -- By Msgr Joseph A Pellegrino

Thoughts From The Early Church: Love your enemies 

When love acts in the soul it does so wisely and gently, for it has great power to kill anger and envy, and all the passions of wrath and melancholy, and it brings into the soul the virtues of patience, gentleness, peaceableness and friendliness to one’s neighbour.

People guided only by their own reason find it very hard to be patient, peaceful, sweet-tempered and charitable to their neighbours when they treat them badly and wrong them. But true lovers of Jesus have no great difficulty in enduring all this because love fights for them and kills such movements of wrath and melancholy with amazing ease.

Through the spiritual sight of Jesus, it makes the souls of such people so much at ease and so peaceful, so ready to endure and so conformed to God, that if they are despised and disregarded by others, or suffer injustice or injury, shame or ill-treatment, they pay no attention.

They are not greatly disturbed by these things and will not allow themselves to be, for then they would lose the comfort they feel in their souls, and that they are unwilling to do. They can more easily forget all the wrong that is done them than others can forgive it, even when asked for forgiveness. They would rather forget than forgive, for that seems easier to them.

And it is love that does all this, for love opens the eye of the soul to the sight of Jesus, and confirms it in the pleasure and contentment of the love that comes from that sight. It comforts the soul so much that it is quite indifferent to what others do against it. The greatest harm that could befall such people would be to lose the spiritual sight of Jesus, and they would therefore suffer all other injuries than that one alone.

When true lovers of Jesus suffer harm from their neighbours, they are so strengthened by  the grace of the Holy Spirit and are made so truly humble, so patient and so peaceable, that they retain their humility no matter what harm or injury is inflicted on them.

They do not despise their neighbours or judge them, but they pray for them in their hearts, and feel more pity and compassion for them than for others who never harmed them and, in fact, they love them better and more fervently desire their salvation, because they see that they will have so much spiritual profit from their neighbours’ deeds, though this was never their intention.

But this love and this humility, which are beyond human nature, come only from the Holy Spirit to those whom he makes true lovers of Jesus. -- By Walter Hilton, (+1396), outstanding English mystic, seems to have studied theology and canon law, and after that to have lived for a time as a hermit.

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