Weekend Reflections for 2/17/17
Love Your Enemies
Along with many of the 10 Beatitudes you can well imagine how startled and questioning many of Jesus listeners were when he advised this attitude and disposition towards those we consider our enemies. It seemed like so much nonsense and insanity, along with pronouncements such as unless you eat my body and drink my blood you cannot have life within you. I suspect that many of these teachings were not taken serious until the events of his passion, death, and resurrection.
But when Jesus prayed to his Father to forgive those who were killing him, his followers began to realize how seriously he meant this. But even in our own times we find that many people, and perhaps ourselves, unable to embrace this disposition.
I believe that regarding one’s enemies or adversaries in this way is possible only with God’s assistance, that is, a gift of grace, Ibelieve we see being lived out in the reaction of many of the relatives and friends of those whose love ones have been mercilessly massacred in recent years in our own country, such as Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School. We hear some saying that they forgive the perpetrators and even that they are praying for them.
If you find such a disposition seemingly impossible for you, how does one make such an attitude their own? I suggest you begin with small steps. Ask the Lord for help. Discuss with the Lord about how difficult or impossible this seems to be for you. At least pray for the desire to have such an attitude. Begin to reflect and pray upon Jesus on the cross forgiving those taking his life. Also reflect upon and consider the the incredible dispositions of those at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. If you can, pray yourself for those guilty of such horrible deeds. In all of this continuously asked the Lord to give you his mind in forgiving heart such people.
Proceeding in this manner you will gradually be putting on the mind and heart of Jesus in regard to your enemies.
Fr. Jim Blumeyer, S.J.