Today’s first reading is an interesting conclusion to the story of Ahab and Jezebel. God sends Elijah to tell them of how He was going to punish them because of their deception and murder of Naboth. Things did not look pretty for this nasty pair. But after hearing of his fate, Ahab repents. God acknowledges his repentance and relents in His punishment. Be sure to read how that story turns out.
The Sermon on the Mount is filled with tough teachings. Today’s may be the toughest of all. (Of course, we can say that about nearly every verse!) “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Jesus doesn’t expect us to just blindly follow this command. He gives us sound reasoning as to why we must do this. “For he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”
In order to better grasp this, we need to define two terms: love and enemy. An enemy is someone who seeks to inflict harm – on us personally, those we love, society in general. To love someone is to want what is best for them. In all cases, this should be closeness to God. We should always desire that people get to heaven. This is why Jesus mandates that we pray for our enemies. If they are doing evil, we should pray that they repent and draw near to God. We should desire good for them, not evil.
Father, forgive us for the evil in our hearts, especially for our enemies. We pray that they, and we, will draw ever closer to you and your holy will. Amen.
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