You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. And if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other as well. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 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 greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
July 4 reminds U.S. citizens to be grateful—for our country, constitution, history, and local communities. We are right to give thanks for these gifts. We are wise, though, to guard against forms of patriotism that become idolatry.
Jesus began with the sacred “insider” Jewish law and expanded it, inviting his listeners to a larger, more hospitable view of life. In Jesus’ mindset, we blur lines between enemies and friends for the sake of creating community that includes everyone by way of compassion, forgiveness, and generosity. It is fine to love my country, but even finer is to love my spiritual community which transcends nationality, race, and philosophy.
My daily life might incorporate many “borders” and therefore categorize those outside the borders as other, or even as enemy. Whom do I consider an enemy? Someone from another political party? A person who ridicules my faith? What pray can I offer today for that enemy?
——Vinita Wright serves as Managing Editor, New Product Development at Loyola Press, Chicago, IL. Click here to enjoy Loyola Press’s “31 Days with St. Ignatius,” a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality in honor of St. Ignatius’ Feast Day on July 31. Content includes articles, blog posts, and videos to help you learn about and apply the principles of Ignatian spirituality.
Christ the reconciler,
teach us to identify those we have categorized as the enemy,
whether they are terrorists far away or family right at home.
Make it possible for our hearts to grow in genuine love toward these we fear or resent.
Please extend to them the grace we desire for ourselves. Amen,