“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” ― Coretta Scott King: (1927 – 2006: was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Scripture Text: (2 COR 6:1-10)
Brothers and sisters:
As your fellow workers, we appeal to you
not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:
In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.
Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots,
labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.
The Scripture readings today from Mass tell us that to be a follower of Christ entails challenges such as avoiding evil and loving one's enemies. One does not have to look so far to come across one's "enemies": they could be among family, among friends and co-workers. To love one's enemies is to extend compassion and forgiveness on them, just as Jesus did. Jesus died on the cross for us, when we were his enemies.
Love is a choice, especially for those difficult to love. Choosing to use kind words instead of answering back, extending compassion instead of revenge and hatred can work wonders. We Christians are called to mirror Jesus' unconditional love for others. Just as we seek and ask for God's forgiveness for our failures, we should be ready to forgive others for their transgressions against us.
It is by the urging and grace of the Holy Spirit that we are able to accept and forgive those who have wronged us, to overcome our human tendencies of anger and pride, revenge and judgment of others. It is in choosing to love and forgive that we show our own repentance before God.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to show compassion, forgiveness and love for all, especially those who are so difficult to love.