The Great Challenge: to love & forgive our enemies!
In Biblical times, the Jews considered people as their enemies when they were unlike them in any form as being on the other side of the divide like the Egyptians, Amorites, Amalekites, Moabites, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Canaanites and the like.
No wonder loving one’s neighbor was exclusive only for their fellow Jews.
In our times, aside from being one who had offended us, an enemy could be someone whose ideas run contrary to ours; someone who doesn’t belong to one’s faith tradition or creed; someone who doesn’t share the same class and color with us; someone you’re competing with; someone who speaks a language that’s not similar to ours.
We can have as many enemies as we continue to identify as many differences between us and others.
On this 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we’re called by the Lord to supreme love and forgiveness for our enemies. St. John Paul II returned love for hatred and forgiveness for the injury inflicted on him by Mehmet Ali Agca – his assassin. This started from Pope John Paul’s deep love that affected forgiveness to Mehmet; inner healing and transformation for John Paul’s life.
It is said that if we fail to forgive someone who hurt us, we could be fundamentally sick within.
If we have the love of Jesus in our hearts, we could forgive those who have wronged us and persecuted us. On a daily basis, we have to learn the sacrificial love of Jesus. There’s no greater love when we’re ready to die for the love of others.