Homily for Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent Year A
Theme: Love your enemies
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Saturday, March 16 2019
(Mt.5:43-48) Saturday of the First Week of Lent, Day Eleven (11) of Lent.
In today’s Gospel JESUS commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. The Church chose this Gospel for this season to remind us of our Lenten responsibility to do acts of charity and make sacrifices. To love our enemies indeed entails a lot of sacrifices and large doses of loving. JESUS did not mean it to be optional. Rather, it was an imperative to us who dared to follow Him and live the Christian Faith.
Will we leave this faith because of this command? And where will we go? This is a call to perfection. It defies human reason and experience. It is not only radical. It is also controversial. But the above are far from the intention of JESUS. He was sent by God to heal, forgive, and call everyone to conversion. God’s commandments were not meant to find fault and penalize. They were meant to set standards so we maybe guided towards our true destiny which is the Kingdom.
It is attainable because it is a decision. Difficult, painful, even unreasonable, but it is a decision we can make. It is very similar to continuously loving a wayward child, an unfaithful friend, or a philandering partner. Loving involves but is not dependent on feelings. Loving is seeing and knowing the whole person and electing to relate with him because he is a fellow human having weaknesses like we have, and because he was made, like us, in the image and likeness of God.
The key, as we have said in the other reflection is God’s commandment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This already assumes that we see God in each other. Whatever we do the the least of our fellow human being, we do it to God. It is made clearer by seeing ourselves in our enemies. The enemy is not only those against us but also we who are against the other. If we believe that in spite of our weaknesses thereby becoming an enemy to others, we are worthy of consideration, understanding, and forgiveness, is it not but justifiable that we render the same to our enemies? The words of JESUS reverberates, “Love your neighbors as you love yourself.” It follows, we can love our enemies too because we are coming across as enemies to others too.
Vengeance will lead us nowhere near peace which we all ache for. JESUS chose to die in the hands of His enemies and never lift a hand to hurt them. He knew that love and not hate is what will heal and stop the spiraling of violence, hate, and murder.