dining with enemies
"My command to you is: love your enemies." —Matthew 5:44
We worship a God Who loves enemies, Who does not avoid them but lays down His life for them. When we kneel before the cross, close by the Lord's crucified feet, we hear His words, "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk 23:34). For while we were still His enemies, He died for us (see Rm 5:8).
The Lord promised to set us free from the hands of our enemies (Lk 1:74) and to set a table before us in the sight of our foes (Ps 23:5). God's plan is for that table to include some of our converted enemies. The Lord sets us free from our enemies not to be rid of them, but so that we are free to love them and bring them to be free in His grace. God is glorified when we love our enemies. This is precisely how the world will know that we are truly sons and daughters of the heavenly Father: by our love for our enemies (Mt 5:44-45).
Are we willing to suffer? If not, we won't be able to love our enemies. Are we willing to be stretched so far that only supernatural grace continually outpoured each day could enable us to love? Jesus taught us to enter through the narrow gate, which is difficult (Mt 7:13-14). The narrow gate is love of enemies. Instead of allowing ourselves to imagine our enemies downfall, let us discipline ourselves to imagine our enemies' conversion. Imagine them worshipping the Lord in reverence and awe and joy. Imagine them sitting next to us, sharing joyfully in the Lord's banquet.
Prayer: Jesus, may my enemies find the road to fullness of joy in Your presence (Ps 16:11) and my presence as well.
Promise: "You must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." —Mt 5:48
Praise: Pete was persecuted at work, but he kept a Christian demeanor and, eventually, was shown respect.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 20, 2016
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