Saturday of First Week of Lent

Love your Enemies

One thing that many people find difficult to do in this world is to follow what our Gospel today teaches: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
It is easy to love one’s parents, sisters and brothers and close friends because there is something that bids us together. Loving the other becomes easy when we can connect most especially if this connection is blood or significant experiences that bridge the gap between two persons.

But to love one’s enemies is like asking what is impossible. Look at what is happening around us. See how Arab nations and most Muslims countries hate the Americans. See also how the Americans hate the world and could trust no one. We need not look far to see how this hatred had been fueling so much violence in our very own country. The rising number of slain journalists, missing persons and how our politicians quarrel over kickbacks are solid indications of all of these. From all of these, it seems that the command of the Lord: “Love your enemies” could never happen.

Certainly, we cannot love our enemies unless we stop loving only ourselves and give ourselves fully to God. For the love of God is the sole basis of loving our enemies. Unless we love God, we cannot love our enemies. I guess most of us knows that Pope John Paul II was once shot by a Turkish national, Mehmet Ali Agca on May 13, 1981. The Pope survived the assignation but was in serious condition. Soon after his recovery, the Pope visited Agca in his prison cell and spoke privately with him. This meeting caught the world in awe and admiration at the gesture of kindness, of friendship shown by the Pope to his aggressor. The world could only marvel at the greatness and love that made it possible for a victim to talk and extend peace to his killer and offer forgiveness.

As if words of forgiveness were not enough , the Pope requested the Italian President to pardon Agca. The latter then was released on parole in January 12, 2006. No doubt, Pope John Paul II did love his enemy. And it was possible for him to love because he loves God first. It is in loving God with all our heart, all our mind and all our being that we can love our neighbors and even our enemies.
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