HOMILY OF SATURDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT YEAR B
Duet 26:16-19, Matthew 5:43-48
THEME: HOW TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES
“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”
The perfection of God is demonstrated chiefly in his love for humanity. Despite our weaknesses and sinful ways, he has not withdrawn any of his provisions for us from the beginning of the world.
However, in our today’s gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ implores us to emulate the love of the Father. If he is the almighty Father, whoever we may call an enemy must be a sibling. Though our human sentiment has made our siblings an estranged neighbour, we cannot disown him or her. More so, if our inability to comprehend the Fatherhood of God has made our siblings enemies, then Jesus is calling us to order.
Nevertheless, it is quite clear that it will be difficult to have ‘philia’ or erotic love for an enemy. Loving an enemy is a thing which we must achieve by actively applying our will because it is a task which we cannot perform instinctively. Loving an enemy is another way of embracing death like Jesus. It is a risk. It is a thing of the will.
Moreover, as long as we are sure that we are on the path of truth, our love for our enemies entails correcting them, and not just allowing them to do whatever they like. Though loving our enemies can bring about clashes between us and them, we should not allow them to take steps or do things that will jeopardize their lives. They may refuse to listen and turn it into quarrel, it is better than to leave them to their fate, waiting for when they will die in their wrong doings. “God chastises those who he loves.”Heb 12:6. True love for an enemy is demonstrated in us when we do not wish them evil and are not ready to take revenge on them.
Finally, the Lord Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:44
May the Love of God fill our hearts and may animosity not be our second nature. Amen.