Today’s Gospel is one I often dismiss in familiarity. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. Beyond having heard it hundreds of times, I frequently convince myself it could never apply to me.
Enemies? I don’t have enemies, right? There is just that one girl in class whom I avoid walking home with, that one person on Instagram I always roll my eyes at, or that one guy in airport security who can never seem to remember to take his shoes off. Does that count?
Sisters, I think I always miss the point of today’s Gospel. Jesus did not gather His disciples close to rattle off some cheesy paradigm about love, but to revolutionize human history. While I subconsciously tell myself that I have heard this Gospel before and I am bored with its message, that is entirely contradictory to Who our God is, a creative Father Who makes all things new.
In fact, this paradigm is not actually the story that has been told hundreds of times, for He tells His disciples that they have heard that one before. We have heard that one before. In reality, the story that has become boring is that hating our enemies will liberate us from resentment. The story that has grown old is that the Father only makes His sun rise on the good, and not the bad. The story that has to be rewritten is that some people are just too far gone.
Because we worship a Father Who creates, Who revolutionizes, Who loves beyond understanding, it only makes sense that He has to write us a new story, one that will never lose its gravity and adventure. He calls us to something unusual. Our mission is to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and He does not ask it of us without living it first. The King of Heaven comes into the mess with us so that we can adopt His heart towards that girl from class or the guy at the airport, and to be loved so radically it never grows old.
Jesus, give us Your heart towards our enemies. May we always be aware that You, our living God, are moving us out of stagnancy and into revolutionary love.
Let's pray this prayer together to remember that to love more deeply, we want to be rid of our supreme enemy, the devil.
Sarah Erickson is a politics pre-law major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Arizona, she finds great joy in mountains, lattes, American history, and the piano. She is constantly discovering Christ's wild love in the little things. You can find out more about her here.