YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: LOVE OF ENEMIES….”Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”
BY: Fr. Jaume AYMAR i Ragolta
Today, the Gospel of the Lord is asking us twice to love our enemies. And, immediately afterwards, it gives three positive instances of this commandment: do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who offend you. It is a commandment that looks difficult to abide by: how can we love those who do not love us? What is more, how can we love those we know for sure hate us? To love like that is a gift from God, but we must be open to it. After all, loving our enemies seems to be the wisest thing to do from a human point of view: our enemy will feel unarmed; and to love him may be the definite condition for him to refrain from being our enemy any more. In line with the above, Jesus goes on saying: «To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek» (Lk 6:29). This could be interpreted as an excessive mansuetude. But, what did Jesus do when He was struck in the face in his Passion? He certainly did not struck back, but with so great a firmness, full of charity, that must have surprised that irate servant, He replied: «If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong.
All religions have a golden maxim: «Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you». Jesus, however, is the only one to formulate it positively: «Do to others as you would have others do to you» (Lk 6:31). This golden rule is the basis for all morals. Commenting on this little verse, St. John Chrysostom says: «There is even more, for Jesus did not only say: ‘wish good to others’, but ‘do good to others’»; this is why, the golden maxim proposed by Jesus cannot just remain as wishful thinking, but it must be translated into deeds.
Fr. Jaume AYMAR i Ragolta (Badalona, Barcelona, Spain)