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Sunday, February 22, 2004

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7th Sunday Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Psalm 103
Luke 6:27-38

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the manual on loving enemies

"To you who hear Me, I say, love your enemies." —Luke 6:27

Loving enemies is more than an attitude. It is expressed in:

  • actions. "Do good to those who hate you" (Lk 6:27).
  • speech. "Bless those who curse you" (Lk 6:28).
  • prayer. "Pray for those who maltreat you" (Lk 6:28).

To love is to reach out — even to enemies. We cannot reach out and at the same time be defensive. Our defensiveness, which is our natural reaction to enemies, must be put aside if we are to reach out to them in love. Therefore, Jesus teaches: "When someone slaps you on one cheek, turn and give him the other" (Lk 6:29). Moreover, when we judge or condemn others, we are reacting to them to justify, protect, and defend ourselves. This defensiveness is incompatible with love. Therefore, the Lord commands us: "Do not  judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned" (Lk 6:37). Rather, to love our enemies in thought, deed, word, and prayer, we should begin by forgiving and giving. Thus, the Lord commands us: "Pardon, and you shall be pardoned. Give, and it shall be given to you" (Lk 6:37-38).

To love our enemies is one of the best proofs that we are adopted children of God (Mt 5:45). Jesus has given us a detailed explanation of how to love our enemies. Look at the crucified Christ and love accordingly.

Prayer:  Father, I accept Your grace now to accept the person offending me the most.

Promise:  "The Lord will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness." —1 Sm 26:23

Praise:  Praise Jesus, crucified and risen Lord and Love for enemies! Praise Jesus, incarnate, eternal Mercy! Alleluia!

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries' Lenten retreat, Lifestyle in the Spirit, will be held March 12-13, 2004. To register or for more information, e-mail retreats@presentationministries.com or call 937-587-5464)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 18, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 24, 2003