Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The late Justice Scalia once said “A man who has made no enemies is probably not a very good man.” As a good Catholic, perhaps Justice Scalia made the statement based on the reasoning that Jesus told us to love our enemies. If we have no enemies at all then we won’t be able to fulfil Jesus’ commandment. Jesus told us to pray for those who prosecute us, but without any enemies, we have no one to pray for, except those who we love dearly.  “If you only pray for those who love you, what is special about that, do not pagans do the same?”

Loving our enemies is easy to say, but not easy to practice. St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiae provided a good insight on how we could love our enemies (ST. II-II, Q25. Art.8). St. Thomas said that loving our enemies might be understood in three ways. First, we love our enemies in their nature; but St. Thomas reminded us that such understanding is contrary to the notion of love itself, as it implies we must love what is evil in another person. Second, we love our enemies in the sense that in loving God and our neighbor, we should not exclude our enemies from the love that we give to our neighbor.  Third, we should have a special movement of love towards our enemies. St. Thomas argued that we should not have a special movement of love toward every individual because it is impossible. Nevertheless, love requires us to be prepared in mind, that we should be ready to love our enemy individually if there is a necessity. In the end, St. Thomas said that the more we love God, the more we show love toward our neighbor. Thus, if we love God so much, we would love the Children of God, even those who are unfriendly to us.

Speak to Jesus now about how you respond to his commandment to love your enemies.  Perhaps you have difficulty to love your enemies, and want God’s help with that. Or, perhaps you are a person who has made no enemies in your lifetime. Whatever it is you want to say to Jesus, he is here and listening for you right now.

February 19th, 2017