THEME: SET THE AGENDA OF LOVE FOR WORLD
It is natural to reciprocate- to help those who help you and hurt those who hurt you. “Do unto others as they do unto you” is simple justice, and has been enshrined in law at least since the Code of Hammurabi (18th Century B.C.), which specified an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Reciprocity is a natural, common sense way to order one’s life, but Jesus tells us this morning that it’s certainly not the heavenly way. Thus, as much as he admonishes us to love our neighbours, he also exhorts us to love our enemies and pray for those who hate us. This is because, as G.K Chesterton rightly observes: our neighbours and our enemies are generally the same people – the man in our neighbourhood who has traded bad information about us, the one we presume hates us, the one who ridiculed and reviled us. The heavenly principle is to love our enemies.
In this way, Jesus clearly establishes that we, as his disciples, are not to allow people of lesser principles to set the agenda for us. We are not to wait to see what the other person will do before we decide what we will do. Nor are we to be trapped in a vicious cycle that someone else starts. Instead, we are to seize the initiative by loving, doing good, blessing and praying. These behaviours might seem weak in the face of hatred and violence, especially in our present day society where wickedness, resentment and retaliation are celebrated as signs of greatness, Jesus transforms them. He demonstrates at the cross how powerful they can be. On the cross, he did not curse his enemies, but prayed for their forgiveness. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other disciples have proven the power of love through the centuries. Love wins! It overcomes the world!
Many Christians have suffered loss of appetite, sleeplessness, poor health and unnecessary pain because they harbour and foster hatred towards those who wronged them, and whom they view as enemies both real and imagined! In the gospel, the Lord urges us to injure our enemies with love! We must never allow them to set the agenda or standard of hatred for us, we must bathe them in love because love builds up! Love is the answer.
PRAYER: Help us, Lord, to build up our community by setting the agenda of love. Amen!
GOOD MORNING AND GOD BLESS!