Herod’s Desire to Kill Jesus
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:
How he was told to leave Jerusalem because of threats to his life. He made a prophecy that would be fulfilled upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as he came forward to accept the reality of the cross. We who confess to follow him, will do well to equip ourselves with Christian virtues and a readiness to carry our cross.
A certain artist once tried to put today’s first reading (Eph 6:10-20) into visible art. He painted a Christian warrior as one with an armor of faith, a helmet of salvation, with a belt of truth around his waist, a breastplate of righteousness, a sword of the word of God and a pair of shoes in readiness to announce the Good News. If every Christian today is equipped with these, then he/she is ready to face the challenges of life. (Fr. Carlos S. Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2002)
October 27, 2016 Thursday
Among the most memorable if not comic experiences I had when I was new in Hong Kong were the various occasions I’d been thought of as an elevator man, a driver, a domestic helper, a gardener. Most amusingly, such comments usually came from fellow Filipinos.
In today’s Gospel, one point that strikes me is that the Pharisees warn Jesus about Herod’s murderous plan. We usually recognize Pharisees, along with the scribes, as always on the look out to destroy the Lord. But here they are warning Jesus, seemingly showing genuine concern. This reminds us against typecasting, categorizing, or generalizing people, leading us to embarrassment as in my experience in Hong Kong. Or worse, it makes us judgmental, disrespectful and uncharitable, robbing us of the joy of getting to know others who may turn out to be very good friends. Let us not forget Jesus had friends even among the Pharisees.
Another lesson we can draw from today’s Gospel is how Jesus, in spite of the ominous news from friends, decides to stay put, undeterred from completing the mission His Father sent Him to do. Working for and with many migrant workers, I have always been impressed with the sacrifices they brave, all because of their love for their families. Ever confronted with this reality, I cannot help but think: if we learn to live more by the principle of faith and love for our heavenly Father, then we too can be “bagong bayani” (new heroes) for our faith. Here is a call for prayers and support for our migrant workers; for they are abroad working for the 3-F’s – nances, family and faith. (Fr. Midas Tambot | Hongkong Bible Diary 2016)
Prayer for Enemies
Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst command us to love our enemies, and those who defame and injure us, and to pray for them and forgive them; Who Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies, who crucified thee: grant us, we pray, the spirit of Christian reconciliation and meekness, that we may heartily forgive every injury and be reconciled with our enemies. Grant us to overcome the malevolence and offences of people with Christian meekness and true love of our neighbor. We further beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant to our enemies true peace and forgiveness of sins; and do not allow them to leave this life without true faith and sincere conversion. And help us repay evil with goodness, and to remain safe from the temptations of the devil and from all the perils which threaten us, in the form of visible and invisible enemies. Amen.
Can We Pray For Our Enemies?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” ¾ Matthew 5:43-44.
“I won’t!” screamed Sam, interrupting the Catechism lesson on forgiveness, after the teacher had just finished commenting on the above scripture reading by saying that we should even pray for the salvation of our enemies.
“What’s that?” the Teaching Sister looked at Sam over her bifocals.
“I said, I won’t pray for Joey to be saved!” Sam repeated even louder.
At this point, the teacher, who had been about to launch into a reiteration of the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) as the curricula materials indicated, then realized that this was one of those times that one must deviate from the lesson plan or else lose the class. If she merely ordered Sam to be quiet, or used the old ruler-on-the-knuckles strategy, then everyone might think that Sam had a reason to doubt everything else she was trying to teach.
Furthermore, the problems brewing between Sam and Joey were in need of attention since they had already disrupted the class several times before and she had not as yet had a chance to take each aside (perhaps with their parents as well) to deal with it. Joey was the class bully and Sam the smallest boy who, for that reason, frequently was the victim of Joey’s pranks and mischief.
Stalling for time, she began asking Sam some questions, hoping that the time given or the responses might provide a chance to persuade Sam to forgive Joey and be willing to pray for his salvation. She started by asking him, “Don’t you want Joey to go to Heaven?”
“No, I don’t want Joey to go to Heaven. I want him to go to Hell.”
“How can you say that? You shouldn’t want anyone to go to Hell. Do you want me also to go to Hell?”
“Not you or anyone else, just Joey!”
“Why is that?”
“Because he keeps shooting spitwads at me, he put bubble gum on my seat, …” Sam launched into a litany of all the terrible things Joey had been doing to him.
“Yes, but what has all of that got to do with whether or not Joey goes to Heaven?”
“Because Heaven would be just terrible if it had anyone like Joey in it. If he goes to Heaven, then I would rather go to Hell.”
At this point, the teacher knew exactly where to go with this. She would entirely scrap the lesson plan that day and give the class, through this incident, a lesson on the nature of Heaven, Hell, Salvation, and being good which would help the whole class to see the value of praying for one’s enemies, since almost the whole class was beginning to nod in agreement with Sam, except for Joey himself who glared at Sam with an “I’ll get you for that” look on his face.
In the seasoned wisdom of her many years as a Catechism teacher, she continued the questioning without letting the students know that it was only at that moment that she figured out where to go with this interruption.
“What do you think salvation is?” she asked Sam.
“Salvation means you get to go to Heaven,” Sam replied.
“And Damnation means you have to go to Hell,” Peter, another boisterous student, piped in, feeling a necessity to complete the information on Heaven and Hell.
“That’s enough, Peter,” she rebuked Peter sharply for interrupting, “This is for Sam to answer.” She then continued:
“Yes, that is true that to be finally saved is to end up in Heaven, and yes, as Peter said, to be finally damned is to end up in Hell. But who do you think God lets into Heaven?”
“The good people who obey God’s commandments.”
“Very good. So what does that mean you must do to get to Heaven?”
“It means that I must be good and obey God’s commandments in order to get to Heaven.”
“Very good. So how do we know in this life whether you are going to Heaven or not?”
“If I am being good and obeying God’s commandments.”
“Wouldn’t that be, in a sense, what having salvation would mean while you are still in this life, before it is time to go to Heaven?”
“I suppose so.”
“So, if someone were praying for your salvation, would that not mean that they are praying for God to help you be good and obey His commandments?”
“I guess so.”
“It is so. If you were doing bad, if, for example YOU were shooting spitwads at someone or putting bubble gum on their seat, you couldn’t very well be allowed to go into Heaven, now would you? God doesn’t allow spitwads in heaven, nor any other kinds of meanness or mischief.”
“I guess not.”
The teacher now had Sam right where she wanted him. She then asked him, “Now, did you think that praying for Joey’s salvation meant praying for God to let Joey into Heaven while still being the sort of bully who shoots spitwads and so forth?”
“But now you know that God doesn’t want Himself and His friends, the Holy Saints in Heaven, all covered with spitwads forever and ever, right?”
“So, the only way for Joey to be saved,” the teacher caught Joey’s eye to make sure he was listening, “is for Joey to stop being the sort who cannot be allowed into Heaven. He needs to stop doing those bad things which are not allowed in Heaven. So if,” she then turned back to Sam, “you pray for Joey’s salvation, what you are really praying for is for Joey to stop being such a bully and become your friend instead.
It was now Joey’s turn to talk. “But if I am nice to Sam, the other kids will laugh at me and make fun of me.”
“I don’t think that’s true, but let’s pretend for a moment that it is. If you start being good to Sam, for the sake of pleasing God, and the other kids begin laughing at you, then all that means is that you need to start praying for their salvation.”
After that, Joey was silent, and so was Sam. At the beginning, it was asked if we can pray for our enemies. Knowing all this, how can we NOT pray for our enemies?
How to love and pray for your enemies
On loving one’s enemies. In one of the Sunday Gospel readings we hear very difficult words: “love your enemies,” – the Lord says to us, – “and do good unto those that hate you.” These words are difficult for us to comprehend, because such a situation – to love one’s enemies – seems unnatural to us. But it is precisely in love for one’s enemies, in the payment of good in return for malice – that we discover in ourselves the true image of God.
It is easy to love those who have affection for us; it is easy to do something for those who respond in kind. But the Lord points out that we see the very same nice relationships among the pagans, and while we do the same as they do, we – Christians – do not differ from then in any way. But in order to be a Christian we must do something greater, some-thing loftier, we must follow the example of Christ.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us the ultimate example of love for one’s enemies, both in general and in particular. The Lord forgave those who committed the most evil deed in the world – who crucified Him to the cross, and in such forgiveness the Lord revealed the greatest love. But on a larger scale the Lord also revealed the greatest love for us, sinners, by taking upon Himself the sins of the whole world, and that means our sins, too. Sins are God’s enemies, because they go against the goodness and perfection of God’s creation, and thus the Lord showed love for His enemies, i.e. our sins, by erasing them through His sacrifice on the cross.
And in this sacrifice on the part of our Saviour we find the key to loving one’s enemies. What is the key? Humility. Absolute humility, complete suppression of one’s pride, a complete rejection of one’s ego. Why is it difficult for us to love our enemies? Solely because of pride. We think to ourselves: how can I love someone who does not see my merits, does not understand what a wonderful person I am? How will I do good unto someone who does not value my precious gesture?
Here we can see how our pride, our egoism slip in. But let us try to be nice to someone, no matter how the other person acts towards us; let us try to do something good for him without expecting anything in return. And if we are able to do this, an entirely new world will open up to us, a higher world, and we will feel the extraordinary power and energy of love, we will feel all the joy of love. Then we will clearly realize that it is much more wonderful to give than to receive – both things and feelings.
The Lord urges us to be similar in charity to our Heavenly Father, i.e. to treat everyone equally, to do good unto others equally. We see the sun shining equally on all people – both good and bad. On hot sultry days the Lord sends rain to all people equally – both good and bad. In this manner we will reveal the image of God within us, if we show love and charity to those who bear malice towards us, just as the Lord Himself showers bounty upon the whole of mankind, despite all the evil it contains.
Yes, it is not easy to love one’s enemies and to do good unto them. But before us we the wondrous example of the Royal Martyrs, who in their exile entreated the Lord to grant them “inhuman strength to humbly pray for their enemies.” Actually they needed not only inhuman strength, but superhuman strength, because their enemies were not just people, but people possessed by demons, possessed by evil. However, the Tsar-Martyr himself left us a testimonial by saying that the evil in the world will become even stronger, and yet it will not be evil which will win, but love. And so their love – through their humility and meekness – has won over evil: the Royal Martyrs are now glorified, they pray to God for us, they entreat His mercy for us.
Similarly we, too, should overcome evil with love. Then God’s mercy will pour out upon us and a totally new world will be revealed to us: a world of joy, a world of grace, a world of true life.
Father Rostislav Sheniloff
Praying for one’s enemies If we offer prayers for those who grieve and offend us, then our prayers for ourselves will also be heard. Whenever anyone prays against his enemies or those who have offended him in any way, those are words not of man, but of the devil.
We must pray for our enemies, no matter how grievously they offend us. If we do not do so, we will perish. To pray to God for harm to befall one’s enemies is to offend God.
The Lord wants us to be meek towards those who sin against us, to forget their sins, to earn forgiveness of our sins by forgiving theirs.
Let us say not only to God: “Forgive our trespasses,” but let each one of us also say to himself: “Let us forgive our brethren who trespass against us.”
Saint John Chrysostome
Praying for my enemies©
On Tuesday, September 11 I did something terribly difficult. I prayed for the enemy who attacked our nation. I prayed for them on Wednesday too, and on Thursday and Friday and every day since. It was probably the most difficult prayer I’ve ever uttered and even as I did it I wondered why I was doing so. On the next Sunday, I got my answer.
The Layreader was reading the Epistle: Paul’s First Letter to Timothy appointed for Proper 19 (I Timothy 1:12-17). Paul is speaking of his gratitude to Christ for his conversion experience and says, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” I heard those words and it struck me: “I am Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I’m Rector of a parish named for a man who was a Middle Eastern terrorist”. That’s why I’m praying for my enemy.
The events of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus are very dramatic. But I imagine there was a lot going on behind the scenes of this drama that scripture does not record. I can imagine a group of wounded souls having witnessed the stoning of Stephen praying that no one else would witness such violence. I can imagine other groups of Christians in cities and villages along the way praying that they would be delivered from violence. And I can even imagine faithful and devout Jews disgusted by the zealotry and evil praying for safety for all. These unrecorded prayers were a piece of this drama I’d never seen before. Praying for my enemy began to take on a new meaning, for if I serve a parish named for a man who was converted from a life of violence-in-religion’s name to faith and prayer was involved, isn’t a part of my vocation and that of is this parish which bears his name to pray for those who act as he once did? Without a doubt it is.
I’ve been asked by parishioners, “Why we are praying for our enemy?” I pray for my enemy first because it’s what Christ tells me to do: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44). Really, there is not much else I can do. I confess I cannot even begin to feel any emotion other than anger against the perpetrators of this evil. I confess I cannot even begin to want to will myself to loving action in their regard. Any thoughts of forgiveness are premature at this time when the extent of loss is not even grasped. Even if I could bring myself to want to utter words of forgiveness they would lack the integrity and deep soul work that true forgiveness will demand. That doesn’t leave much left except to pray for them.
“But, what are you praying for?” I’ve been asked. Well, I’m not praying for anything specific. In fact, I’m trying to keep my agendas and limited perspectives out of this prayer. I’m simply trying to commend these terrorists into the nearer presence of God, where perhaps they can be found by Christ and he can turn their hearts in as unexpected a way as he turned St. Paul’s.
In a strange and wonderful way, I’m coming to discover that by praying for my enemy I am also praying for myself. I’m praying that my anger, my righteous vision not so consume me that I become just like my enemy. This prayer invites the Holy Spirit to protect my soul from becoming hard and bitter. By turning my enemy over to God, I prevent them from becoming an obsession which thwarts my ability to channel Christ’s love. But also, praying for my enemy keeps me aware that my enemy, just like me, is created in the image and likeness of God. While the likeness to God of these terrorists appears terribly perverted, twisted and deformed, they do bear God’s image even if God is the only one who can see it. But if God can see it, it’s not beyond the reach of grace, which can transform it. Just like God did with St. Paul.
I’ve also been asked whether by praying for my enemy it means that I oppose taking military action against them in the cause of bringing them to justice. The answer is “No. I do not oppose military action. In fact, I am more in favor of such action than I have been for most of my life.” Much to my surprise, I’ve come to this as a matter of faith. In the Baptismal Covenant we take a vow that we will “persevere in resisting evil”. I’ve known what that means in regard to evil in the personal, spiritual sense, but now I believe that it applies to the incarnate sense as well. By this I mean that when I am confronted with spiritual evil (things like the pride, lust, anger and the other Seven Deadly Sins) I have to resist them spiritually. But I now also see that when evil confronts me in incarnate form, resistance may require tangible, incarnate, and pro-active measures so this evil cannot corrupt and destroy the innocent creatures of God.
I will continue to pray daily for these enemies. I expect it will never be an easy thing to do, but I know it’s the faithful thing to do. I plan to use Prayer For Our Enemies on page 816 of the Book of Common Prayer quite often. Using it keeps me from thinking of the enemy as an object and not as a human. It keeps me honest, requires that I face, acknowledge, and confess the evil potentialities in me, and it guides me along the path of struggling to follow Jesus’ commandment.
The Rev. Doug Earle
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
San Antonio, Texas
Praying for our Enemies
Hanging with Judas
I have an eclectic group of friends. Or, I should say, groups of friends. Yet within each one, we keep talking about trust issues and friends who betray us. I’ve been struggling with that a lot lately. Not as in being the betrayer, but as in being betrayed. I kind of got mad at God about it, wondering how, yet again, I open up to trust someone, and I get stabbed in the back. So in conversations with these friends, I find they’re all in the same place with someone else. Wondering how and why they let themselves get suckered in to a friendship that took so much out of them.
I’ve done a lot of traveling lately, and I’m finding the plane is a great place to read the Bible. So God and I have been using that time to chat about some things. He pointed out something interesting I hadn’t ever realized before. Judas. We all know about Judas, and how he betrayed Jesus. What hit me, though, is that Jesus KNEW what Judas was going to do. I don’t know at what point he knew, but can you imagine, knowing someone would betray you and allowing them to be one of your closest friends anyway? Jesus could have picked any number of people to be among the twelve. He didn’t have to pick the guy who’d sell him out. But he did.
It had to take a lot of love to choose someone who ended up harming you. It had to take a lot of love to live with the knowledge of future betrayal and treat him no differently than the faithful ones. Even if Jesus didn’t know until that night, it still took a lot of love to humble himself and wash the feet of a man who helped sign his death warrant.
I wish I had that kind of love.
Right now, my stomach is in knots. My heart aches. And I feel like the dumbest person in the world for letting someone treat me like this. I get angry every time I hear her name. Every time I see her doing what I suspect can only be what she’d done to me, to someone else. I hate how much I dislike this person. I hate how little she cares. I hate how after all we’ve been through, she can pretend I don’t exist. I hate how, to my knowledge, I have done nothing to her, she acts like I am the worst of all enemies. I hate how, despite my attempts to talk to her about it, she pretends nothing is wrong.
There’s a lot of ugliness in me right now. A friend of mine was describing similar ugliness in her heart, and I thought, yeah, I know that feeling. I have it too. The hate and rage just boils inside me.
Except that isn’t what Jesus did. Maybe he thought about what Judas would look like, drawn and quartered, the stench of his burning intestines filling the air. But probably not. He just loved Judas.
Lord, make me more like you, because I certainly don’t know how to love the Judas in my life.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I know, I posted this on my other blog, but you know, I think unforgiveness is at the root of having enemies. If we truly learned to forgive, would we have enemies?
Lately, I’ve been in a cloud of depression and doubt over a lot of things in my life. Oddly enough, it’s been a good thing, because God has been revealing a lot to me about some of the things in my life holding me back. He’s also been showing me areas where my motivations are less than pure. There’s a lot of ugliness brewing inside me, and I could never understand why. Why this negative follows me around. Why, despite everything, I’m still struggling on a lot of levels.
Today, I woke up early, which is unusual because I’m not a morning person, and I’ve also been so tired lately that sleep is all I want to do. I’d planned on making my family a nice breakfast, but God kept putting on my heart that I needed to do something else. I simplified, and went to sit down at my computer. I thought it was because I was supposed to write. I got another feeling at the back of my mind to turn on the TV. So I did. A friend of mine loves Charles Stanley. I haven’t gotten into him so much, but for whatever reason, he came to mind. Oddly enough, for a Sunday, there were no church type programs on TV. It was all paid programming. And then, sandwiched between a couple of them, was a Charles Stanley program. So I started watching it half-heartedly. He was talking about unforgiveness.
As he spoke, I realized that a lot of the things he talked about were a lot of the things God has been talking to me about lately. There are so many negative things in my past. So many wrongs. When I see a positive thing in my future, I subconsciously begin to self-destruct. I find it impossible to believe that the good I’m seeking is for real. I’m still hanging on to the negative memories. I honestly struggle with believing the good others have to say about me. Last night, I was talking with a CP about my writing, and she said some amazingly wonderful things to me about what she thought of it. All I could think was, “she’s just being nice.” I have a wonderful opportunity to submit and all I can think about is the negatives about my writing.
When I look back at my attitude towards her, I have to laugh because she is the sweetest person on the planet, and she’s not the sort to say I’m a good writer if she doesn’t think I am. She’s not the kind of person who’d lie to make someone else feel better. And yet, there’s this huge block in my heart that refuses to possibly believe that I could be a good writer. I am so conditioned to believe the negative, which only feeds the unforgiving spirit that is growing inside me. When I read contest scores, all I see is the negative. I keep waiting in expectation that suddenly, all the masks are going to be ripped away and finally the world will see me for the terrible person that I am. The bad writer I am. The bad mother I am.
And then I listen to Charles Stanley’s message today. I realized that I am in bondage. The spirit of unforgiveness has me so tightly bound that I can’t see anything clearly about myself. I’ve spent a lifetime believing lies about myself. I haven’t been able to forgive myself for a lot of things, most of which are pretty silly. Pretty much any time I fail to be perfect, I hold it against myself. I can recount all the times where I’ve failed to meet the standard and use it as evidence as why I’m so bad. I remember all the things others have done to wrong me. More evidence as to why I’m unworthy. I can’t forgive them, and I can’t forgive me.
As God’s been revealing this to me, I know it’s holding me back in every area of my life. Success eludes me because this horrible oppressive spirit has kept me from believing it possible. Interestingly enough, my mind is warped enough to think that if I finally achieve success, despite all the negative, I can finally thumb my nose at all the baddies and say, “see! I’m not the horrible creature you made me out to be.” ICK. What messed up thinking. I don’t need success to prove that. More importantly, I don’t need anything to prove it. Jesus says so.
What struck me as most powerful from the message today is this rough quote: “When a person who is a believer is unforgiving, they are out of character.” I’ve been trying so hard to be instep with Jesus and live life as a Christian, and yet, I’ve completely missed it. I am out of character. There is a huge chasm between me and God and I’ve been unable to see it until now. Of all the things that disturb me, this is the most important. Yes, I want great things for my life. Yes, I want success. Yes, I want to minister to others. Yes, I want to be published. But none of that means anything if I don’t have Jesus.
So please pray for me, that this spirit of unforgiveness would be defeated. That I would be able to clearly see God’s truth. And that God would continue to reveal the things separating me from Him and empower me to overcome them so I can walk alongside Him with confidence. I’d also like prayer for forgiveness. I don’t even know where to begin or how to forgive, especially because so much of it is layered deep in my life. It’s not just one person or one incident, but so many things, things I don’t think I’ve even begun to identify.
As I wrote this, I debated a lot about who to share it with, and whether or not I wanted it to go to the loop. But God keeps putting on my heart that I need to be open about this, and that there are others I can minster to through my struggles. But also, I tend to try to do a lot more on my own than I should. One of the big lies I’ve been believing is that I’m alone and I know that’s not true.
If you are interested in hearing Charles Stanley’s message, you can download it for free on iTunes.
Thanks so much for your prayers.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Yesterday, the kiddos were fighting. The six year old is usually pretty easy going, but she finally had enough of the three year old terrorizing her. She lashed out and gave it to the baby pretty good. As I consoled my older daughter, I started to think about what it meant to love an enemy. She pointed out to me that her baby sister was a bully and she needed to fight back. After all, that’s the big thing in school these days. Zero tolerance for bullies.
But why is a bully a bully?
In the case of my youngest daughter, a large part of it is that she’s three. She’s still learning to define her boundaries and her sense of self. Plus, she desperately admires her older sister and wants to possess everything big sister has, because in the mind of a three year old, that will make her like big sister. And really, a lot of adults are caught in that trap too.
Recently, I came across the blog of one of my enemies. She used to be my best friend, but after a series of unfortunate events on both of our parts, we stopped talking. The knife is still in place where she so-lovingly slammed it between my shoulder blades. Frankly, there are too many reasons why I can’t ever be her friend again, however, as I read about her life, I realized I still care about her. My heart aches for the struggles she’s dealing with, many are of her own making. So while I’ve acknowledged that there simply isn’t a place in my life anymore for her, there is still room in my heart to care. I found that the festering sore of her betrayal is gone, replaced with love and sadness. A friend of mine started gossiping about her the other day, and I would have been tempted to join in, except for the healing I’ve had. I couldn’t laugh and mock, but only pity and feel great sorrow. That conversation didn’t get very far.
What did I do to get to this place with my enemy? Absolutely nothing. I’d given the situation to God a long time ago, and so when I stumbled upon her, I didn’t need to do anything. Well, okay. I’d been praying. For a long time. Which brought me to the conversation with my children. How do we treat our enemies?
Luke 6:27-36 gives us insight:
27″But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
In college, I had a professor talk about how turning the other cheek exposed a person’s evil. And while I still agree in principle that there is a piece of exposing the other person’s evil in loving an enemy, I think what Jesus asks of us is even greater. In loving our enemies, we are forced to interact with them, to get in to the messiness of their lives and understand who they are. In viewing their humanness, we can’t help but find ways to relate to them in a new way.
From what I’ve seen in the bullies I know, the bullying is a reflection of the weakness and insecurity of the bully. The more I look at the weaknesses and lack inside the bullies, my heart softens.
The more I pray, the more I find it hard to continue to maintain an attitude of hate. It doesn’t mean I’m going to jump in and be best friends with a person who damaged my life in a very palatable way. It doesn’t mean that my six year old should let her sister constantly beat her up. We can still have boundaries, but we don’t need to hang on to the hate.
posted by Danica/Dream at 10:04 AM 2 comments
Thursday, June 21, 2007
First, let me apologize for abandoning this blog for so long. I promise, I’ll do better.
Second, I think part of why it’s so hard to keep up on praying for our enemies, okay, MINE, is that I’m still so unevolved as a Christian, that as much as I try, I still want fire and brimstone. Really. Why can’t God just smite them all and make my life easier? Of course, there’s probably people out there who think I’m their enemy and would really like for God to smite me, so maybe it’s a good thing that prayer isn’t the heavenly version of 1-800-4HITMAN.
But hey, that’s the reason this blog exists. I want to evolve. I’d like to be at the point where I can love my enemies. Where I can bless those who curse me. Yes, I know, that takes more of Jesus in me and it’s a process. Which is why I’m here. Because it seems to me that a lot of folks have similar struggles in their journey. If I can be of any encouragement in that journey, then that’s a good thing.
So share away. And if you have an enemy to add to the sidebar, do let me know. Let’s pray for some enemies together.
posted by Danica/Dream at 9:40 PM 0 comments
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I don’t think I have to mention any names-there’s two women plastered across the media right now. One, for her very sad passing, another for being out of control. Everyone wants a piece of these women-their stories, their sad lives.
I wonder what it is like-to have to live under such scrutiny? To know that there is always someone watching, to record your every mistake. When you triumph, they are only there waiting to see how long it takes you to fall. They are celebrities-they are stars. People we love to gawk at.
The thing we forget is that they are people. With feelings. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to deal with tough things in life-like a broken marriage, drug or alcohol addiction, an unplanned pregnancy-and have to do so while everyone is there, eager for the scoop.
I pray for them-their struggles, and the really tough things they must deal with in the very public eye. I especially pray for their children, who get caught up in all the frenzy. I also pray for those chasing after them, eager for the scoop. That they would learn compassion. And I pray for us-the consumers of these stories and pictures. I pray that we would give the celebrities-love them or hate them-room to live their lives in peace.
posted by Danica/Dream at 10:39 PM 0 comments
Friday, February 09, 2007
It’s the stress time of year, sorry!
I really do mean to pray more for our enemies, but we’re in the busy part of tax season, so I don’t get as much of a chance to get online and stay online other than my online job, as I would ordinarily do. It’s pretty pathetic when I’m scheduled 20 hours a week, and this week, I’ll be at over 40.
Is it time for a vacation yet?
Talking about my stressful life does have a point, though. (“I have a point, I promise!”-Legally Blonde) How often do we say that we’re too busy or too stressed to pray for something? We’ll get to it later.
I’m so exhausted right now that I’m getting little to nothing done. It’s been over a week since I’ve had a day off. Throw in a growing family that can’t take care of itself, my online job that also takes a chunk of time, and my dream of becoming a published author, I wonder, when will I EVER have time to just sit and be with God?
I was grouchilly yelling at God yesterday, because one of my old enemies contacted me. Freaked me out. The crazy thing is, she acted like we were long-lost best friends. I was kinda mad about it, because as I ranted in something I almost posted, but didn’t, my memories of her were of how mean she’d been to me. The only respect I can honestly say I have for her is that she at least had the courtesy to do it to my face, rather than behind my back. So I’m asking God, why NOW? Why, when I am stressed and tired, and I’m barely hanging on to the life I have, does He have to have some enemy from my past contact me?
While the simple answer was that even now, I am to abide in Him, the more complicated answer came from my favorite church billboard. Driving home today, it said, Love adds and subtracts, but never keeps score.
That hit me right between the eyes, because here I am, feeling frustrated that God decided to bring this person who’d been mean to me back into my life, without so much as a, “Gee, I’m sorry I said and did all those horrible things to you way back when,” and I’m just supposed to suck it up and say, “Great to hear from you, blah blah blah.” Sounds an awful lot like scorekeeping to me.
Maybe I don’t quite have this enemy thing figured out yet. That, however, will have to wait for another time, given that I have five minutes to change clothes and head off to work.
I’m abiding, Lord… or at least trying to.
posted by Danica/Dream at 2:10 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Low Idiot Tolerance
I know, how un-pc of me. But for those who’ve known me any length of time, I have such a low tolerance for idiots. And maybe, those are enemies I need to be praying for.
I was thinking about my last post-friends bent on self destruction, and I realized that I have such a hard time loving them through it. I know it’s the right thing to do, and I know I should be doing it, but honestly, I just sit there and want to throttle them.
A friend of mine posed a question about whether or not it was possible for God to be disappointed in us. I said yes. He gives us the free will to choose whatever we would like to choose, but we don’t always choose right. I think that when we choose wrong, He is disappointed in us. He doesn’t love us any less, but He is disappointed with the decision.
I pray that I will get past my low tolerance of what I think are idiots. I have one friend being so stupid in the decisions he’s making right now that I can’t even bear to talk to him, I’m so angry. I see how badly he’s hurting himself and I wish he would just wake up and stop already. It’s so hard to sit back and watch. I pray that God will give me some of the strength He uses when we do things that are so heinously offensive to Him, yet He still manages to give all of His love without holding back. It is during those times when we need it the most. Knowing this, I pray that I can still be there, in love, no matter what the person is doing.
JESUS’ LAMENT: the first part of today’s gospel connects some wrong images. First of all, we usually imagine the Pharisees to be enemies of Jesus. Most of them were, but there were also others who were worried about the safety of Jesus. They came to warn Him.
Then we usually imagine Jesus as very meek and soft. Today we hear how He uses bad words when He called Herod Antipas, the powerful ruler of Galilee, a fox, an expression of slyness, of cunning.
Jesus’ mood then changes. From anger and defiance, it turns to sadness. As a pious Jew, Jesus must have loved Jerusalem, the holy city, the place where the Temple, the House of His Father, stood.
From history He knew only too well that Jerusalem never lived up to its reputation as “holy city.” How many prophets had come and warned them to repent but were persecuted like Jeremiah, and even killed like other prophets? Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed already once, more than 500 years ago, a punishment for the sins of idolatry, injustice, corruption and oppression of the poor, as the prophets interpreted the catastrophe.
Jesus remembers the time He, like the prophets of old, had preached in Jerusalem and tried to turn the people from evil to a God-pleasing life – in vain! The image of the mother hen protecting her chicks under her wings is touching. What a pity that artists have never developed this beautiful picture.
Before we shake our heads at the stubbornness of Jerusalem’s people, I wonder what Jesus would say if He would speak about us. How many times have we been told to change our lives, to repent? How many times have we been told that just saying prayers and outward signs of pity will not save us? How many times have we been told that it is not enough to love God but that we love God most when we love our neighbor in need?
Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem could be a lament over His followers in the 21st century (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD SABBATH Scripture Meditation for Daily Life October 30, 2011 p. 310)
WORD Today (Rom 8:31-39; Luke 13:31-35): Question- “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31). Answer- Only ourselves. Our own fear work against us when we don’t trust that God loves us and will bring out something good and beautiful from whatever we suffer now.
As Christ was resolutely marching to Jerusalem, a Pharisee tried to scare Him saying: “Get away from here! Herod wants kill you!” It didn’t work. Nothing could stop Christ from going to Jerusalem to die for us. He loved us too much and He trusted the Father to raise Him up in glory on the third day. The evil uses our own fears to drive Christ away from us. He scares us with anxieties, telling us to trust ourselves; to be practical and do anything to secure our needs even with ways contrary to the Gospel (Fr. Iko Bajos, Oct 31, 2013).
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
THURSDAY OF THE 30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 13:31-35. UNSA MAY MAKAPAHUNONG NATO SA PAGPANGALAGAD SA DIOS? Si Hesus gipasidan-an sa mga Pariseo: “Kinahanglan mopahawa ka dinhi ug moadto sa ubang dapit kay si Herodes buot mopatay kanimo.” Gibugaw ug gihadlok, pero wala siya nihunong sa iyang misyon sa pag-alagad. Usa kini ka panig-ingnan nga angay natong sundon. Daghan nato mawad-an og kadasig sa pag-alagad sa Simbahan bisan sa gamay lang nga hinungdan. Masultihan sa pari, mabikil sa kauban, o kaha wala madayeg sa gibuhat, mangluod na dayon ug dili na mo-alagad. Unsa man diay hinungdan ug tumong sa atong pagpangalagad? Si Kristo wala nihunong tungod kay ang Dios Amahan maoy iyang gisunod, dili si Herodes. Paghigugma ug kalooy maoy nagtuklod kaniya sa pagserbisyo. Kita? Kinsa may atong gisunod? Unsa may atong tumong? Posted by Abet Uy
Friday, October 28, 2016
THURSDAY OF THE 30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME – LUKAS 13:31-35. ADUNA BAY MAKAPAHUNONG NATO SA PAGPANGALAGAD SA DIOS? Si Hesus gipasidan-an sa mga Pariseo: “Kinahanglan mopahawa ka dinhi ug moadto sa ubang dapit kay si Herodes buot mopatay kanimo.” Gibugaw ug gihadlok, pero wala siya nihunong sa iyang buhat sa pagpangalagad. Usa kini ka panig-ingnan nga angay natong sundon. Daghan nato mawad-an dayo’g kadasig sa pag-alagad sa Simbahan bisan sa gamay lang nga hinungdan. Kon mabadlongan sa pari, o mabikil sa kauban, o kaha wala madayeg sa gibuhat, mangluod dayon ug dili na mo-alagad. Unsa man diay hinungdan ug tumong sa atong pagpangalagad? Si Kristo wala nihunong tungod kay ang Dios Amahan maoy iyang gisunod, dili si Herodes. Si San Pablo nagdasig kanato: “Serve with your whole heart, as if serving the Lord, not people” (Eph. 6:7). Posted by Abet Uy
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Reflection for October 29, Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 13:31-35
Reflection: Do you have the courage to peacefully face anyone who tries to bully you or even threaten your life?
Jesus life was being threatened by King Herod the very same King Herod who ordered the beheading of John the Baptist. But instead of scampering to look for a safe hiding place Jesus told the Pharisees: “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose (Luke 13:32-33). …
Jesus was so focused on His mission that He did not allow even a threat to His life to deter Him. Such is Jesus, always true to His mission and always courageous even at the cost of His life.
As we move on with our life we too will have our own set of obstacles and challenges to face. Many of us would crumble because of the overwhelming odds and the weight of the responsibilities. But if what we are doing is for God and for the good of His people. We must continue with fervor and not lose heart.
We must always look at Jesus as our role model of courage and fortitude. – Marino J. Dasmarinas
Monday, October 24, 2016
Reflection for Thursday October 27, Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 13:31-35
What if Jesus allowed fear to grow in His heart? There would be no salvation for all of humanity, but Jesus faced His fears and accomplished His mission by dying on the cross.
What can we learn from this courageous act of Jesus? We also must learn to face our fears, many of us are not able to evangelize because of fear. Fear that no one will listen to us, fear that we might be rebuked and we have many more unfounded fears. We fear for the simple reason that we allow it to live in our hearts. But once we don’t give a haven for fear we now become successful missioners for Christ Jesus.
The key to become successful missioners for Christ is to defeat fear with faith. But human as we are we often times succumb to fear most especially if we are in the line of fire. If we have this mindset what will happen now to the propagation of the faith that was started by Jesus?
If Jesus, the apostles and the saints allowed fear to conquer them we have no Christian faith to hold and speak of right now. We would be pagans and faithless wanderers in this world, but we have our faith and we owe this to the courage of Christ Jesus and His followers.
Let us therefore emulate Christ, let us not fear the obstacles before us. For obstacles are meant to be conquered by the strength of our faith in Jesus. Face your fears and creatively live your Baptismal mission to evangelize.
Be courageous and never worry for the simple reason that as you do your mission for the faith Jesus will always be with you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas
October 27, 2016
Today’s first reading should be an eye-opener for some of us who go through life without being too much aware of what is going on around them—like sots who return home in a drunken stupor, unaware that they nearly got killed when crossing a street on a red light or that they are inadvertently foiling a hold-up or that they miss falling into a manhole.
To such Christians the apostle Paul in today’s first reading addresses a wake-up call. In substance he tells them something like this: “Hey! Our life on earth is not like a stroll in the park! We are involved in a cosmic war between the forces of evil and the forces of good, between Satan and his minions on the one hand and, on the other hand, God and his children. This means that, if we want to resist the forces of evil effectively, we have to be equipped adequately.” If we pay close attention to what Paul says afterwards, we notice that he insists very much on prayer as being of special importance in this war. And it is. Prayer connects us with the Cosmic Energy that moves the galaxies…