Over the next couple of days in the first readings, we’re going to be hearing some of St. Paul’s thoughts about giving to the church and taking care of the needs of the holy ones. Today in 2 Corinthians 8, St. Paul speaks of the awesome example of the people of the church in Macedonia. They begged Paul and his companions to let them help. Check it out…”they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the service to the holy ones.”Â If only we could find that attitude! We’ll hear more tomorrow.
Jesus’ message was all about love. And today in our Gospel reading from Matthew 5, He takes his teaching to the extreme. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Now hang on just a second here, Lord! Are you saying that we have to LOVE those people who want nothing more than to see us fail, humiliated, even dead?? Those people who step on us like we mean nothing? Those people who laugh at us and berate us because we stand up for what is right and true in Your eyes? We have to LOVE them?
The answer is yes to all of the above. And to any other examples that we may be able to think of. We say to Jesus, “But, Lord, they don’t DESERVE our love!” While this may be true, who among us DESERVES the love of God? We are sinners, traitors, prodigals. And yet love us He does. Undeservedly and unreservedly. And He calls on us to do the same. Once again, Jesus raises the bar to ridiculous and unattainable heights. But with the grace of God and practice, practice, practice…the undoable becomes doable.
Father, you know how difficult these words of Jesus are for us. You love us, though we do not deserve it. Help us to love those who are most difficult for us to love. Amen.