Tuesday of the 11th Week of the Year

Matt 5:43-48

Love of Enemies

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

The word “forgive” if inverted is “give for.” Here we have the secret of forgiving, i.e. to give for the Lord, to surrender to the Lord the people who have hurt you.

Lord, bahala kana lang sa kanya.” This is the most basic forgiveness prayer whenever thoughts of revenge, hurt or resentments overwhelm us. And, when you say, “bahala kana,” don’t add, “bahala kana Lord kung gusto mo siyang mamatay na, makarma, or mawala na.bahala na si Lord, so don’t give your suggestions!

The bottom line why you and I must continue to forgive is that you and I have been forgiven much. (Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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When Jesus exhorted His disciples “love your enemies, pray for your persecutors,” He knew it from His own experience. He knew what it takes to love and show kindness. He knew the benefits of a person reaps for offering forgiveness and love. He wants us to go beyond reciprocity. Jesus wants us “to be perfect as our heavenly Father in heaven is perfect.”

In his book Five Steps to Forgiveness, Everett Worthington suggested three arguments why we should forgive our offender: First, we can’t hurt the perpetrator by being unforgiving, but we can set ourselves free by forgiving. This is true to a certain degree. Second, unforgiveness is a heavy burden to carry. It is likened to a red-hot rock we carry around with the intention that somebody it will be thrown back at the person who hurt us. It drains us of energy and tires us. It burns and eats us up. And who wouldn’t want to simply let the rock fall to the ground? Emerson Fordick has point when he said “hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.” Third, we will be healthier if we forgive than if we stew in unforgiveness. Studies suggest that when we dispense forgiveness we do service to ourselves.

Forgiveness, however, is not mainly For Getting self-benefits. Forgiveness is For Giving. If we forgive we give a gift of peace to the person who did us wrong. By no means will giving a piece of your peace ever diminish you rather it will make you grow in the process and bless someone else. Neither will giving up hatred be a cowardly act. Rather it depicts courage and love personified. Christ’s love gave him the courage to forgive his perpetrators while hanging on the cross. His forgiveness brought blessings and reconciliation to all. It brought us a sense of personal peace. We know how liberating its effect is. (Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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There was a TV program anchored by Bill Cosby in which he interviewed young boys and girls. It was entitled, “Kids say the darndest things.” One could perhaps think that Jesus says the darndest, the most outlandish things.  For instance, he said, “Blessed are the poor.” If you want to be first, you must be the last,, the servant of all.” “If you want to save your life, you must lose it.” And today he says, “Love your enemies.” How can anyone love his enemies, those he hates? Isn’t it a contradiction in terms?

As we know, the Greeks had three words for love: eros – passionate love, philos – friendship or warm affection, and agape – benevolence or even sacrificial love. The word used in the Bible for love of enemies is agape. Jesus does not ask us to like our enemies or enjoy their company but to “love” them. That has nothing to do with feeling but with our will. It means that we wish them well; we refrain from talking against them; we forgive them and we are even ready to help them. Loving one’s enemies is the test of our genuine love for God. Humanly speaking this is impossible. But ourselves we can’t do it. But with God’s help, all things are possible. Since He commanded it, He will help us if we ask Him. “Pray for those who persecute you.” That is a good way to start loving them.

The first reading today is also about love, love in action shown through generosity. Paul praises the churches of Macedonia for their extreme generosity even though they were poor. They imitated Christ, who, though he was rich, made Himself poor in order to make us rich. We are to imitate Him in being generous and in working for the poor. God also lets the sun shine on the good and the bad. That message may sound foolish to some, but God’s foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of men and women. (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Jesus told us that we must love our enemies. That seems like an impossible thing to do. But before we even think about how to do that, let us first find out who our enemies are. We shall be surprised that many of them are imaginary enemies; they are not real enemies at all.

What is an enemy? Someone or something that wants to harm us. Well, first of all how do you know they want to harm you? Maybe you just do not like their looks or size or color. Perhaps that person does not even know you, perhaps he/she has never even heard of you. So how can he/she be your enemy, except in your imagination?

The easiest remedy for this situation is to go and start talking to that seeming enemy. You will be surprised that he/she is not an enemy at all. Here is another point we do not realize. Somehow we feel that when we hate someone as an enemy, this causes that person pain. No way! He/she does not even know who hate him/her. Hate only harms us; it eats out our insides.

We can also consider things as enemies: like sickness, pain, darkness, lightning, earthquakes and temptations. But we forget that their job is not to harm us. Pain for example is a warning or danger signal to our body. It is a friend, a helper, and not an enemy. Even death is not an enemy. It opens the door to a better life.

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him/her your friend. It is like when you play a ball game; your opponent is your enemy. But when the game is over, you shake hands and everyone is a friend again. If you think someone is your enemy, go and do that person a favor and see what happens. When you have changed an enemy into a friend, it is easy to follow our Lord’s command that we must love our enemies. We have changed the enemy into a friend and it is easy to love a friend, is it not? (Fr. Frank Mihalic, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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To gospel for today reminds us to love our enemies. I am reminded of a story of the encounter between Mahatma Gandhi and a young man whose son was killed by an enemy. Gandhi was an advocate of active nonviolence. He wanted the British to leave India, but he wanted India and Britain to part as friends. In 1946, he succeeded. The British left peacefully and granted India independence.

However, the two major groups in India, the Hindus and the Moslems, began to compete for political power. A civil war broke out and the two groups were killing each other. Gandhi was heartbroken; he fasted and vowed not to eat until the killing stopped. In the movie ‘Gandhi’ groups of Hindus came to visit him and one young man pushed through the crowd. His eyes were fierce and angry. He threw a piece of bread on Gandhi’s bed and yelled, “Eat! I am already going to hell and I don’t want your death on my soul.” Gandhi threw a question the young man: “Why are you going to hell?” the Hindu man responded: “because I killed a child. The Moslems killed my son and so I killed one of their children, I smashed its head against a wall.” Gandhi countered, “I know a way out of hell. Find a Moslem child the same age as your son, whose parents have been killed in this war. Adopt that child and raise as your own. But be sure to raise him as a Moslem.” The young man collapsed on Gandhi’s bed. Gandhi laid his hand on the man’s head. When the man rose, the ferocity left his eyes and his left peacefully.

In the gospel today, Jesus said: “”you have heard 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 that you maybe children of your heavenly Father.” It is truly difficult to forgive and love those who have wronged us but as children of the heavenly Father, we are being challenged to be like Him. (Fr. Cyrus Mercado, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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It is somewhat easy to love those whose values and interests are like our own, or those who accept us, those who do us well, or make us feel respected as persons. What about those who just can’t look at us; who hate us for no valid reason; or those whose ideas and ways we can’t tolerate; or worst, those whom we think have made our life miserable?

I know of an elderly lady who, with her long-nurtured anger had become antipathetic to another elderly. The mere looks and smiles of reaching out from Connie would trigger screaming, trembling or babbling out sarcastic remarks in the other. In no time too, this lady would disappear whenever and wherever Connie was around. Howbeit, one sacred light to behold in the hospital one day was when this lady asked for Connie and begged forgiveness. Clasping each other’s hands, tears rolled down their cheeks. Minutes later, the elderly lady took her last breath.

Strangely, we often tend to behave in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth manner. We harbor hatred, anger, resentment. Little do we realize that we become the person we hate.

On a society or culture where anger and revenge become ordinary, Jesus presents a very demanding statement: to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. To love our enemies is to forgive them, accept them and more so, to pray for them. We may not like the person because of personality differences but we owe her or him our respect. This must be doubly tough. Doing so would make us capable of obstructing this circle of evil in the society. We run counter to this revengeful flow.

Unconsciously too, loving those who hate us may be just the right answer to what our enemy greatly needs – perhaps a longing for love, for attention, for acceptance. This is quite an arduous task which can become our greatest achievement. For after all, what is this call to perfection? It is actually that call of God to holiness, to be full grown, to be an adult, complete and whole, as one retreat guide explains.

Yes, we all have the capacity to recreate someone to be better by our acts of forgiveness or make someone worse by our vengeful actions. Deciding for the latter is to remain a prisoner of evil passion. But to recreate someone by our acceptance is to give the other his or her worth as a person and to prize the other as a child of God just like ourselves. This is an adult behavior! This indeed is a step towards a faithful response to Jesus’ call, “Be perfect as you heavenly Father is.”

The late Pope John Paul II wrote: “It is better to cry than to be angry because angers hurts others while tears flow silently through the soul and cleanses the heart.”

Indeed if it is necessary to cry out our anger, let’s do it to break us free from our hurts, to liberate us from our life traps.  Crying it out is to see our vulnerability, identify our imperfections and damaging beliefs and later treasure this growth experience. Crying it out to the Lord will pave the way for brighter steps to resolve all our issues beginning from our deepest self.

As Louise Hay wrote in her book, You can Heal Yourself, “There is so much love in your heart that you could heal the entire planet. But just for now….use this love to heal you.” (Sr. Tessa Artita, SSpS Bible Diary 2008)

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June 14, 2016 Tuesday

There are those who say: “If we can only pick and choose the Bible verses we want and disregard the others… Some passages are just soooo hard to put into practice….” And if asked what passages of scripture they are referring to, the gospel above is usually quoted, among others.

Why should I forgive others, after what they have done to me? It’s not even natural or human.

The way of the human is revenge, pure unmitigated revenge. Sure, we can follow this approach; but will it stop the hatred, the violence, so that no eye is left “unplucked”, no tooth remains “un-pulled?” When will all this end? And at what cost? Death? Injury? Insomnia? Hypertension? Do we really want any of this?

Jesus in the Gospel teaches a different approach: mercy and compassion, forgiveness and prayer for those who wrong us. This is the “Jesus way,” which is also the way or approach of the children of God, loving everyone, especially those we find difficult to love. If in the social sphere we are to practice good manners and right conduct by greeting people and smiling at them, thereby recognizing/ acknowledging them, in Jesus’ way we need to do more and be more. We are to treat others as brothers and sisters under the fatherhood of a loving God, and we are to go beyond our mere human and social obligations so that we may be “perfect, as our Father is perfect.” (Fr. Lino Evora Nicasio, SVD National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/704-june-14-2016-tuesday

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BE HOLY! (Matt 5:48): for some people Holiness means a life overflowing with virtue and goodness. For some it is a place like a church or an air-conditioned adoration chapel. For others it is kneeling down, closing their eyes and praying the rosary as slowly and fervently as possible. Others still regards holiness as the feeling they get after going to church.

In the gospel, the Lord shows us what holiness really is. Holiness is not a place, a mood or feeling. Holiness is an action word because it is to be discovered in love of neighbour. The Lord says, “You must be holy as I, your Lord, am holy.” And then He proceeds by saying, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.”

In other words, the surest way to be holy is to love and to serve. Holiness is not a matter of feeling, holiness is an action word.

The season of Lent invites us to holiness. But it is an invitation for us not simply to spend 24 hours a day in church. The holiness of Lent is not simply to discover the holiness of God each time the priest elevates the host or chalice. The holiness that is expected of us is service of the poor, of the under-privileged, of the forgiven. It is always good, no matter how small your salary is, to set aside something for the poor. No matter how big our salary has become, we must never forget part of the wage we receive, part of the blessing we receive should go to the poor. It is not only a spiritual exercise, it carries with it a promise that those who give will receive a hundredfold.

When we receive the Holy Eucharist, let it not be only a summit – the Eucharist is always a beginning. After receiving the Eucharist, let us go forth and do the loving and sharing and servicing that holiness requires from all of us. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, 2)

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HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR ENEMY

Meron ka bang kaaway ngayon sa opisina? Baka naman meron kang nakasamaan ng loob doon sa kabilang department. Hindi mo binabati…. o baka naman kaninang nagbabyahe ka sa FX o kaya naman nagmamaneho ka, may nag-cut sa yo. Nagalit ka. Nag-away kayo.

How should we deal with our enemy?

 Don’t rejoice in your enemy’s misfortune. Halimabawa, , meron kang officemate na di mo kasundo, pagkatapos nabalitaan nagkasakit sya. Wag ka namang magpa-party. Don’t rejoice in your enemy’s misfortune. Ang sabi sa Proverbs 24:17 (NLT), ‘Do not rejoice when your enemies fall into trouble. Don’t be happy when they stumble.” Wag mong ikatuwa ang misfortune ng iyong kaaway. Let the Lord deal with him.

Do good to your enemy and extend help when there is an opportunity. Proverbs 25:21-22 (NASB) tells us, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”  Ang pinaka-effective na pangganti sa ating kaaway ay kabutihan. Gawan mo siya ng kabutihan at siya ay magugulat, matutuwa pa ang Diyos sa iyo.

Love your enemy. Matthew 5:44 (NLT) reminds us, “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Why shouldn’t we have enemies?

Dahil ang mundo ay maliit lamang. Lalo na ngayon. Because of technology wala nang makapagtatago sa atin. Hindi na rin tayo makapagtatago. The world is too small to have enemies. If you burn the bridges, wala ka nang malalakaran. Instead of building walls para hindi tayo maabot o mapuntahan ng ating mga kaaway, we should build briges. We shouldn’t have enemies because the world is too small to have enemies.

Because life is too short. Maikli lamang ang buhay natin at hindi natin alam kung kalian ito matatapos – so don’t be caught off guard.  Baka naman matapos ang buhay natin na pagkarami-rami nating kaaway. Saying naman. Life is too short to have enemies. Instead of counting your foes, develop more friends.

God is too big for us to have enemies. Alam mo kung meron kang hindi makasundo, kung merong mga tao na talaga namang pinapahirap ang araw-araw na pagpasok mo sa opisina, don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Wag mo silang awayin. Isumbong mo sila sa Diyos. God is too big for us to have enemies.

O, plano mo bang sugurin yong tao na naninira sa iyo? Mag-isip-isip ka muna. Bago ka pumasok sa anumang away, pag-isipan mo muna ang mga ibinahagi sa iyo ngayon.

Source: Maloi Malibiran Salumbides (Smart Steps for Everyday Workplace Success 2008:41-44)

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My Reflection for Tuesday June 17, Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 5:43-48 – Reflection: One of the most difficult actions to do is to love our enemies or to love those who’ve hurt us or those who continue to hurt us. For example how could you love your unfaithful spouse? How could you love someone whose been making life so difficult for you? Indeed, these kinds of people are very hard to love. But on the other hand, who are we not to love them and who are we to focus on hatred instead of love?

Why don’t we try loving those who are hurting us, why don’t we try to eliminate whatever hatred in our hearts? The moment we love those who hurt us and the moment we eliminate hatred in our hearts we become free from the bondage of the evil one. We free ourselves from any form of negative and hurtful emotions that slowly eats away our good health.

Loving our enemies doesn’t mean that we eliminate fairness and justice. Loving our enemies simply means that we don’t keep whatever form of hatred in our hearts yet we pursue justice and fairness.

Jesus loves us all whoever we are and whatever sins we have committed. However we are also aware that there is hell, there is the kingdom of the devil wherein those who do no good are destined to dwell. This is justice and this is fairness.     (by: Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-reflection-for-tuesday-june-17.html

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THE ONLY PERMANENT THING: “…your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:48

It was our first time in Sydney, Australia, a wonderful gift from God. But we came in the dead of winter, and although it wasn’t snowing, the temperature was close to zero. Staying outdoors was difficult when we walked in the city streets. So when we saw a huge, royal-looking building, we went in to stay warm.

It was the Queen Victoria Building, a shopping mall and not a royal palace as it appeared to be on the outside. It was originally used for stately purposes for the Queen of England. But its purpose has changed — from royalty use to commercial use.

In a coffee corner inside the mall, I reflected on this issue called change. They say that the only thing permanent in life is change. But even change changes. Then wisdom came to me. There is something that’s truly permanent in this world: God’s love. That thought warmed my heart more than the coffee.

Count on it — God’s love is constant and it never changes! Rolly España (rolly@homeliving.com.ph)

Reflection: Lord, thank You for the wisdom in the thought that You created me so that You can love me. Your love has never changed or wavered.

Jesus, everywhere I turn You are there pursuing me with all Your love. You are my Good Shepherd.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-17

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1ST READING: The punishment Ahab and Jezebel receive for their sins is very harsh. But then, not only did they murder an innocent man, they also stole his property from his heirs. The story reminds us of the responsibility of exercising power. The more power, talent or wealth we have, the greater our duty to share what we have with others. 1 Kings 21:17-29

GOSPEL: Perfection is our calling. We may not reach perfection before gaining eternal life in heaven, but we can and should strive for it. Jesus explicitly calls us to this goal in the Gospel today, and is also a source of immense inspiration in the hope it holds for people living under the grace of the Holy Spirit. Let us never sell ourselves short of who we can be in God’s eyes and under His grace. Matthew 5:43-48

think:  Let us never sell ourselves short of who we can be in God’s eyes and under His grace.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-17

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PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: In the time of Moses, God reminds His people to be holy as God is holy. Luke says it another way, “Be merciful as God is merciful.” Still, Matthew describes it another way, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This is a tall order to follow but not without the grace of God. By striving to live the spirit of the Beatitudes of Jesus, a Christian is challenged to love and mercy. Being perfect is exactly this: to imitate the love and mercy of God. No one can be perfect as God is. He alone is holy and perfect in all His ways, yet the call remains the same: to follow Him. As the popular phrase says: Practice makes perfect!

Jesus reminds His followers that by loving those who love us, we achieve no benefit. The Christian is to love even those who will persecute and destroy his reputation. After all, we were once enemies of God ourselves, but have been brought close to Him by the blood of His Son, who loved us and sacrificed Himself for us.

Jesus gives us an example of loving one’s enemies when, at the cross, He invokes the Father’s mercy upon those who crucify Him. He shows us how to love by loving those outside our circle of friends when He illustrates the parable of the Good Samaritan. Finally, He teaches us to love. We notice how he was silent at His arrest and trial before Pilate and Herod. Through His life and ministry, He shows us the way of love.

Who do we consider as our enemies in life? Who are they who seemingly have nothing to do with us, those we don’t bother to relate with? These are the people God is asking us to reach out to and love. There is no virtue in loving those who love you. Jesus challenges us to look beyond.

We can choose to live mediocre lives or to step beyond our comfort zones and reach out to the less fortunate who need our care and attention — to help them see God in and through us. God will accept this more as a pleasing sacrifice. But the choice remains up to us. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Where in your life can you become more holy, more merciful, and more perfect as God calls you to be like Him?

Merciful and Loving God, give me the grace to be like You more and more each day. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-17

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NOBODY’S PERFECT – “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

Nobody’s perfect! Isn’t that obvious? But notice how this has become a common and convenient excuse for many. After all, it’s “natural to commit mistakes.” We’re just human beings.

You get caught beating the red light and you bribe the policeman to get away with it. Hey, everybody does it! Nobody’s perfect, the policeman included.

You know of a politician who uses public funds to enrich himself and evades paying taxes. Well, it’s natural and almost expected. Nobody’s perfect!

You hear of a married man who gets into a secret love affair again and again. Come on, we’re just human. Nobody’s perfect!

Sure, God loves sinners and will forgive again and again.

But I wonder why Jesus also challenged us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is. Is it to be perfectly forgiving of others and of ourselves no matter how many times we fall? Or does it also mean that we have been given the power to become better persons even when we fall, so that little by little we learn, we improve, and we are perfected by His grace and love? Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)

Reflection: When you fall into sin, run to Jesus and His perfect love will forgive you. But let His love also transform you into the best person you are meant to be.

Dear Jesus, I run to You now despite my imperfections. I believe that Your love and mercy is perfecting me by Your pure grace. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-06-16

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVE AND LIKE – I love our Classical Philosophy class with the late Fr. Josefino Javellana. He led us to critical thinking to the point that we had to be very discerning about our choice of words. He made us realize that words — even synonyms — have shades of meanings and nuances. For example, there are differences between the meaning of existing, living and being. To exist is simply to be there, to live is to undergo the processes of life, to be is to attain one’s purpose and meaning in life. I began to believe that one problem of today’s generation is this loss of critical thought. It is not merely being pilosopo(argumentative) about everything. It leads us to reflect.

The difficulty to love in the Christian way, for instance, may be caused by a mistaken notion that to love is the same as to like. They have similarities, but they have shades of differences, too.

“Like” is more properly for inanimate things; “love” is for living things.

“Like” is based on benefits of pleasure or satisfaction that one derives from an object of liking; “love” is based on deeper, transcendent reasons, or can even be unexplainable and unconditional.

“Like” aims to grasp, and to possess the object of liking; “love” beholds the other.

“Like” is often an expression of something physical, material andsensual; “love” is spiritual.

This basic philosophical distinction of “love” and “like” can contribute a lot to our understanding of Jesus’ words today: “Love your enemies.” Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What makes persons easily “likeable” for you? What makes people highly “unlovable” for you? Reevaluate and pray over your list. What Gospel image of Jesus helps you to be forgiving? Why? Try to meditate on this Gospel image more often.

Help me to be more discerning, Lord, and to live a life of love for Your sake.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-06-16

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RANTINGS OF A WRITER – “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” – Matthew 5:44

“If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”

I couldn’t help chuckling when I read this quotable quote from young, beautiful singing sensation Taylor Swift.

I am a writer. I blog. And I admit, I am sometimes tempted to operate like Taylor Swift says she does. You know — when people do horrible things to me, I feel like writing something they won’t like.

I’ve had my share of rejections and persecutions. I get angry. I weep and gnash my teeth. I rant to someone who would empathize with me, take my side. I rant and rant before God.

And then, I somehow hear today’s reading: “Love your enemies.” I roll my eyes and rant some more — that what God is telling me to do is not that easy.

But at the end of the day, all I do is this: write — not my actual rantings — but just how I rant.

And well, I pray today’s Psalm 51… Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love… Cynthia U. Santiago (cusantiago@gmail.com)

Reflection: For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? (Matthew 5:46)

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-06-14

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AN INCLUSIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE LOVE – Jesus is at it again with His new standards of the law, particularly regarding the love of enemies.

In a sense, the old Jewish law probably had a point. For how does one really come to love his or her enemy? Even just the joining of the two words sounds absurd: “love of enemies.” One’s love will naturally and exclusively gravitate only to his or her “neighbors” or friends. Anyone outside one’s circle of friends, acquaintances, relatives and neighbors might as well be treated an “enemy” — simply understood in the Jewish mind as an outsider or a stranger, with no rights to one’s love and affection.

But there lies the problem. If one merely follows his or her natural propensities or tendencies, then it’s probably OK. But we must keep in mind that we have a higher possibility available, thanks to God’s bountiful graces and blessings. Thanks to such grace, we can go yonder — to a higher level of love. This higher love is more encompassing (not selective), more inclusive (not for just a fortunate few selected ones), and without conditions (not for those who have special privileges and entitlements to wield).

And that last point is the context of that often misunderstood last verse. It is not so much perfection that is being demanded of us, for only God is perfect, and we may not even approximate such an exclusive attribute of God. In the context of inclusive and comprehensive love, the challenge that Jesus poses to us is to imitate God in that kind of love.

Let us not be content with a minimal type of love which barely measures up to the possibilities that God is opening to us. Let that love of His be ours as well.Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Who do you find most difficult to love? Today, pray for that person and ask God for the grace to love him or her.

Enlarge my heart, O Lord, that I may be able to love like You do. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-06-14

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June 16, 2015

Tuesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time B

2 Cor 8:1-9, Mt 5:43-48

Love Your Enemies and Pray for Them

This is perhaps the hardest but most known teaching of Jesus, ‘to love our enemies and pray for them’.

But can anyone love one’s enemy? To understand this we should know the word used for love in the original version of the Bible. There are four words to denote the concept of love in Greek:

  1. Storge: it is the kind of love that exists between parents and children.
  2. Eros: Eros denotes passionate love or sexual love, the kind of loved that exists between husbands and wives.
  3. Filia: it is the love between closest friends.
  4. Agape: It is the word that the Bible uses for love when it asks us to love our enemies. Agape can be defined as a love that does not hate anyone and wills the good of everyone. When Jesus asks us to love our enemies he was using the equivalent of agape. So Jesus is not asking us to love our enemies as we love our parents or children or our close friends, but that we should not hate anyone, we should wish everyone good and pray for everyone. Agape is a universal kind of love extended to everyone without affixing any conditions. When we understand the teaching of Jesus in this way, we feel consoled and we are encouraged to think that love of enemies is possible.

Jesus adds one more injunction: to pray for the enemies. It is to double make sure that we do not hate them, for we cannot simultaneously pray for a person and hate him/her. The surest way for killing the bitterness and enmity is to pray for that person in the presence of God.

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-06-16

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All Brothers and Sisters, Children of Our Heavenly Father

June 16, 2015 (readings)

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Father Walter Schu, LC

Matthew 5: 43-48

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, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you present a message that is not easy for my fallen nature to accept. However, I believe in your words, and I trust in you because you alone have the words of eternal life. As I begin this moment of prayer, I turn to you as one in need. I want only to please you in all I do.

Petition: Lord, help me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me.

  1. True Love for Your Enemies:Nowhere does the radical newness of the Christian ethic stand out more clearly than in Christ’s simple phrase: “Love your enemies.” There are four words for “love” in Greek.Storge refers to the love between parents and children. Eros is the love of attraction between man and woman. Philia is the love of friendship. Finally, agape is love as goodwill, benevolent love that cannot be conquered, a love that wills only the good for the person loved. In his book, Love and Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla remarks that to love someone with truly benevolent love is to will God for them, since God is the supreme good of each human person. It is precisely love as agape that Christ asks from every one of his followers: “Pray for those who persecute you.”
  2. “Children of Your Heavenly Father”:Why does Christ ask, even demand, of us such a radical form of love? Precisely because that is how God the Father loves each and every one of his sons and daughters, with no consideration of whether they are good or evil. “For he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” How much the world around us would change if those with whom we came into contact perceived in us a love like that of the Father of mercies! His love is absolutely without self-interest. He continues to love and pour forth his gifts even when he is not loved in return. Christ calls us to a lofty and challenging ideal, but one that is capable of transforming lives. What joy could be greater than to be true sons and daughters of our heavenly Father?
  3. Seeking True Perfection Through Love:Why is Christ almost relentless in insisting that we must be perfect — and not just a human perfection, but as our heavenly Father is perfect? He knows that is the Father’s original plan for mankind, from the dawn of creation. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Christ is well aware that sin has darkened the divine image within us, that his call to perfect charity is not possible for our fallen human nature. But he is equally aware that by the power of his own death and resurrection, through the new life of the Holy Spirit whom he will send, God’s original plan for mankind will be restored. There can be no more powerful motive for hope, even in the midst of our own failures in charity and our human weaknesses.

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for your radical message, for the constant challenge it is to me, never allowing me to become complacent or self-satisfied. Help me to be a better witness of Christian charity so that the world will believe in you.

Resolution: I will pray for those with whom I am experiencing difficulties and do an act of charity for them.

http://www.epriest.com/reflections/view/421

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Monday, June 13, 2016

TUESDAY OF THE 11TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 5:43-48. UNSAON MAN PAGHIGUGMA ANG MGA KAAWAY? Ang labing una nga paagi sa paghigugma sa mga kaaway mao ang pag-ampo alang kanila. Unsa may atong i-ampo para kanila? I-ampo nato sila nga makakita sa kamatuoran, magmalinawon, makat-on sa pagpasaylo, mabulahan ug magmalipayon. Nga sa ato pa, atong i-ampo ang ilang kaluwasan. Ang pag-ampo alang sa kaaway gisugyot ni Kristo tungod kay kini makaayo dili lamang sa mga kaaway kondili sa atong kaugalingon usab. Pinaagi niini, kita maoy unang magmalinawon ug maluwas. Hinayhinay nga mawala kanato ang pagdumot ug ang pagtinguha sa pagpanimalos. Adunay kamatuoran ang komentaryo ni G.K. Chesterton: “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/06/tuesday-of-11th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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June 14, 2016

REFLECTION:

Jesus’ command to love our enemies is absolutely crucial—for our happiness. Because nothing ruins more a person’s serenity and peace of mind than harboring hateful thoughts all day long. But, in order to obey Christ faithfully, we must be clear about a few basic things.

First, Jesus is not asking us here to like our enemies, because that would be psychologically impossible. Liking someone is a spontaneous reaction over which we have no direct control—as also disliking someone. Loving is very different. It consists essentially of a free decision of the will and any normal person is capable of that.

Second, as shown very clearly in the parallel passage in Luke’s gospel (Lk 6:27-36), this decision of the will is directed at doing certain actions in favor of the enemy: do good, bless, pray for, lend money, help in any reasonable way.

That is all that is involved here. But, if one billion Christians decide to take Jesus’ teaching seriously, the face of the Earth will be changed forever. But this most desirable result can come about only if you and I decide to love the enemies in our own lives, in our own back yards. How about it?

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3553-june-14-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Tuesday of the 11th Week of the Year

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