In the first reading today from 1 Corinthians 8, St. Paul talks about knowledge and conscience. “When they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.” This is a great reminder to me that we must have a well-formed conscience. In the Gospel reading from Luke 6, Jesus says, “Love your enemies and do good to them.”
Love your enemies. Do good to them. Are you kidding me?? As Christians, we know these commands. But that does not make them any easier to follow. After all, our enemies don’t deserve love! And those rats who persecute us don’t deserve our prayers! Right? Well, let’s do a little “deserving check” here. Did Jesus deserve to die for our sins? Are you deserving of God’s love? Do you deserve to be forgiven by those you hurt?
We have to remember that love is a verb. We don’t have to “feel” some sort of emotional love for our enemies. But we do have to love them. We must treat them with respect because they, too, are children of God. They, like us, have feelings and families and hopes and dreams. One of the greatest sins we can commit is to dehumanize someone. And all too often, that is what we do with our enemies. Pray today that God will give us the grace to love, even when we don’t feel like it.
Father, we are so undeserving of your love, and yet you pour it out upon us every moment. Help us today to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. Amen.