Saturday in the First Week of Lent: 11th March 2017.
At that time: 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, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Loving those who are not worthy of our love. How uneasy it can make us feel, right? Trying to crack a smile when we see that nosy neighbour who is all up in our business, trying to ignore and tolerate the “I-know-it-all” attitude the fellow at school or in our workplace always gives, the struggle to accept people who differ from us in many ways: doing all these can be seen as going contrary to our standards; “after all it’s not like they are worthy of half the love we give them,” so we might say to ourselves. But Jesus today tells us to break down the walls of love we have surrounded only our family and loved ones with and look beyond the barriers we humans place before ourselves: the race, tribe, gender, sexuality or colour of those around us and then spread such love nevertheless. Jesus encourages us to pray for those who may outrightly hate us due to our beliefs and differences so that they find it in their hearts to respect us as we do respect them. We are called to break free from the norm of the world: loving those who love us back forgetting we are all children of God the Father who made us in his image and likeness.
God’s love knows no bounds. We as his sons and daughters should reflect such love. That’s where perfection lies. May we gain the graces to love all unconditionally and pray for those who don’t do the same to us this season of mercy.