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Sunday, February 18, 2007

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7th Sunday Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Psalm 103
Luke 6:27-38

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loving enemies

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you." —Luke 6:27

"Better is an open rebuke than a love that remains hidden" (Prv 27:5). Love must be expressed, especially love for enemies. We should go out of our way to do good to those who hate us and intentionally say good things about those who curse us (Lk 6:28). In fact, because of love, we should even expose ourselves to further hurt from our enemies. When someone strikes us on one cheek, we "turn and give him the other" (Lk 6:29). These expressions of unconditional love for our enemies seem absurd. "The message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18).

We might assume that Jesus does not mean this literally, but when we look at Jesus hanging on the cross, we can come to no other conclusion except that Jesus expects us to love our enemies in a most extreme way. Loving enemies as Jesus did is obviously impossible. Who would even want to love their enemies? Even if we desired to love our enemies as the crucified Christ did, we couldn't do it. Yet something about the crucified Jesus moves us to accept the absurd, want the unwantable, do the impossible, and love the unlovable. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, carry the cross, and do what is humanly impossible. Love your enemies as Jesus loved His enemies.

Prayer:  Father, when I love my enemies, may others see this as either absurd or miraculous.

Promise:  "Just as we resemble the man from earth, so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from heaven." —1 Cor 15:49

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, Love crucified, for loving us so much that while we were still Your enemies, You died to save us (Rm 5:8).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Love on audio AV 58-1 or video V-58.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006

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