Daily Reflection
March 18th, 2000
by
Tom Schloemer, S.J.
Career and Academic Planning
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Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary - Solemnity
Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 5:43-48

Nobody ever said the Christian message of love would be easy . . .  Jesusí command is:  love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.  Tough stuff.

Jesus was fighting against the ethnocentrism of his day.  The phrase, "but hate your enemy," is non biblical.  We might hate hurtful actions, but we should not hate persons.  That may seem difficult to accomplish, and it is.  Prayer simply for persons, not for correcting or changing them, is necessary.  Forgiveness is understandably the first step in the process. 

The conviction that love is stronger than hate is crucial.  Only by returning love can evil be overcome.  Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Romero, and the Salvadoran martyrs have shown us the way.

It has been stated that loving those who are for us results in an increase in their love, while loving those who are against us results in an increase in Godís love.  That is the perfection we seek.  In striving for such perfection, we look to the person of Jesus and his challenging words:  Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.
 

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