Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gospel Reflection

June 18, 2013
Tuesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Benjamin “Benjo” Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
12:15PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)

Reading 1 2 Cor 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God that has been given to the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For according to their means, I can testify, and beyond their means, spontaneously, they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the service to the holy ones, and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us through the will of God, so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun, he should also complete for you this gracious act also. Now as you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others. For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm PS 146:2, 5-6ab, 6c- 7, 8-9a

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”


One of my most favorite anecdotes on the late President Abraham Lincoln was during the time of the Civil War. A mother from the Southern state begged for him to release his son, and with her pleadings, President Lincoln signed the decree to free the son who is a prisoner. One of President Lincoln's generals approached him and said, "You do not release an enemy; you destroy him." And President Lincoln answered, "If I made my enemy a friend, do not I destroy my enemy?"

As we have heard from our Gospel, it is not just a saying, but a commandment from our Lord, when He said, "Love your enemies."

Why is it so hard for us to love our enemies? First, we must identify who are those who we consider enemies. Are these the people who have betrayed us, the people who have embarrassed us? Are they the people who have taught us something which is good, but then because of our pride, we cannot accept it? Are these the people who continually offend us by their words, by their trying to destroy our reputation at our backs? We have to identify this.

But according to psychologists, the things that we hate in other people are actually the things that we hate in ourselves, because our hatred reflects or mirrors what we hate in ourselves. If we follow this kind of thinking, then the way we hate our enemies, is the way we love ourselves.

Jesus Christ said, "Love your enemies.....love your neighbor, as you love yourself." In our prayer, the Our Father, which we pray every day as we attend the Holy Mass, we say, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." What is the will of the Heavenly Father? It is for us to be one, to be united, to be loving each other. Are we not obeying His commandment, when we try to love our enemies?

Loving our enemies is loving beyond the boundaries that we have been used to. It is an invitation to love inclusively, and not exclusively. If we want to be true children of the Father, we will obey our Savior's command, and that is to love one another as God has loved us. Amen.