Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, June 18
May the Spirit of God’s Truth and Love Change and Transform Each of Us into the Loving and Merciful Image of Our Heavenly Father.
Our Lord challenges us today to live the faith we espouse – “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
I am sure most of us here remember where we were and what we were doing on that terrible day of infamy, when the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City were destroyed on September 11th in 2001, when the Pentagon was the target of a third hijacked passenger jetliner, and when a fourth jetliner crash-landed just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In total, almost 3,000 people lost their lives due to acts of religious fanaticism, not counting all those First Responders who have died over the years since 2001 as a result of being exposed to the carcinogens contained with the particles of dust.
And in the aftermath, the United States declared war on terrorism, and men and women were placed in “harm’s way” in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And for several weeks, more and more people began attending church services in whatever faith or denomination they professed, seeking answers for the grief and the fear they were feeling, and praying for all those who suffered and died.
Sadly, it took an attack on American soil to bring many people back to God. And today, there are still hundreds of families grieving the loss of their loved ones on that fateful day.
I am not going to speak about what is referred to as the “Just War” theory. Nor am I going to address the political rightness or wrongness of our military actions which resulted afterwards, for I know that there is much debate on both sides of this issue.
What I am going to speak about, however, are the words which Jesus gives us, in today’s Gospel, a teaching which, for many people, is very hard to accept, much less live:
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” And He goes on to say a little later, “…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And, in Luke’s Gospel, our Lord says, “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.”
Was Jesus exaggerating when he tells us today, since His words are timeless, “…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” ? I do not believe so, for God knows our weaknesses and our sinfulness; He knows our limitations better than we do. And yet, throughout Sacred Scripture, God assures us of His Love and Mercy, and the grace which is available to us so that you and I may be able to follow in His ways.
In spite of persecution by different factions, the early Christians responded to each other’s needs with a selfless love, a selfless giving of themselves for the good of their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ – that degree of selflessness which is oftentimes very difficult to find in today’s world – in a world whose god is the marketplace and in which secularism is the great seductress!
Saint Paul tells us in our First Reading, “…the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” He was referring to a collection, a relief project if you will, which was being taken up for the Church in Jerusalem. And they gave not just from their abundance, but from their very needs.
And their generosity so impressed Paul that he tried to express his thankfulness in words. And then he drew a parallel from what they were doing to what Christ did for us, “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”
In other words, Christ, in the awesome Glory of His Divinity, left the splendor of being at His Father’s side– a spiritual wealth beyond all human understanding or description – so that he could take upon himself our human nature, with all of its limitations and weaknesses except sin, becoming poor for our sake, and ultimately die for each of us upon His Cross – so that we may inherit eternal life, being forever embraced with His Love, a spiritual richness which only God can give us.
And this gift, which God freely offers to each one of us, is available ONLY if we imitate the life of Christ, who has given us the perfect example to follow. For from the very depths of His pain and sorrow, He prays to His Father with the words, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
“…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” And, “…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Impossible demands? Not if we keep our eyes focused on the truth concerning Divine Mercy in our lives – Christ’s total selfless Love for all of His children, including those who scourged and crucified Him, including even those who offend or persecute us!
We have all heard the age-old expression “Hate the sin; love the sinner.” As hard as it may seem at times, that is exactly what God is asking from each one of us, and we cannot accomplish this virtuous act without His help.
We must take the time and effort to reach out to His Spirit of Love and ask for the gift of loving as He loves, for the gift of being able to forgive as only He can forgive, and for the charism of being holy so that we may live our lives in imitation of God’s Holiness.
And our psalmist reminds us in today’s Responsorial, “Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD, his God.”
May the Spirit of God’s Truth and Love change and transform each of us into the loving and merciful Image of our Heavenly Father, so that we may be able to walk in the joy and freedom of His Love, in both this life and in the next – so that we may truly grow in the virtues of holiness, love and mercy –
– so that we may truly be one with God and He with us! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.” (Matthew 5:43-45a)
- “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
- “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:36-37, 38c)
- “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
- “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.’” (Luke 23,34a)
- “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
- “Then Peter approaching asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)
- “Blessed the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD, his God.” (Psalm 146:5)
- “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, Make me an instrument of Your Love.
May I see each circumstance in my life
as an opportunity to grow in Your Mercy.
May I see my environment
as a place to grow in Your Peace.
“When I am tempted to become impatient,
help me to be patient.
“When I am tempted to become unkind,
help me to be kind.
“When I am tempted to become jealous,
help me to be tolerant.
“When I am tempted to become boastful or proud,
help me give You the glory.
“When I am tempted to be rude or selfish,
give me the gift of gentleness.
“When I am tempted to take offense,
help me to let go.
“When I am tempted to become angry with someone,
give me the gift of forgiveness.
“When I am tempted to become resentful,
give me Your power to love.
“All gifts and all charisms come from You.
All will one day come to an end,
with one important exception, the gift of love!
Help me to always love others as You love me. Amen.”Anonymous