Go The Extra Mile

When I was a kid, I thought that taking revenge when someone hurt me was just normal. It seemed it was an instinct that I cannot find peace unless I get even with my enemy or someone who has hurt me. But even at my young age, I noticed I could not keep being angry at someone for a long time. I find it hard to explain, but the words in the “Lord’s Prayer” seem to have guided me. I had taken these words seriously that I must forgive my enemy so that I would also be forgiven. I was afraid to go to hell or not forgiven by God if I did not learn to forgive others. Now that I am an adult, I realize that it was a gift and grace from God that I had the capacity to forgive others through the use of my willpower and not my emotions. A proof of this is that while I had many grievances against my elder brother and even planned to take revenge someday when we grew up, I later changed my mind and chose to forgive him.

This challenge of Jesus to forgive and do good to our enemies is contained in the “Lord’s Prayer.” It is one of the concrete expressions of the second greatest commandment, that is, to love one’s neighbor. Loving one’s enemy makes us exceptional in our love because it is normal to love those who are kind to us. Doing good to others amidst injustice, persecution, and pain is impossible if one has not started to develop a habit of prayer and an intimate relationship with Jesus. It is actualizing what one has prayed for before facing the situation. The more a person struggles with loving those who are difficult to love, the more his capacity to love grows and becomes purer. I pray that the Lord may inspire us to love the way He loves.

By: Sem. Jose A. Cordova Jr.

Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“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.”

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