Love our enemies? Pray for those who persecute us? Ouch. I mean, why does Jesus refuse to let us have our well earned revenge and anger? Don’t we deserve it? After all … he lied to me. After all …she hurt me. After all … they rejected me. And on and on and on and on. In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches us that love is more than being good to those who are good to us.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, 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,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
God offers to forgive us no matter how seriously we have sinned. His arm are always aching to hold us close.
We can and must forgive without reservation. Mercy should never be withheld.