Wednesday, April 1, 2015

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. - Martin Luther King Jr. (1928 – 1968: American Civil Rights leader)

Scripture Text: ( IS 50:4-9A)
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

The readings from Mass today anticipate the torments Jesus will endure in his passion when after his condemnation the soldiers abuse him and mock him for his supposed pretensions to royalty. The lament of the 69th Psalm echoes this same motif. The psalmist speaks of the suffering he has to endure, even from his own brethren so much so that he has become “a stranger to my mother’s sons”—reminding us that Jesus’ betrayal will come from one who is close to him, as Judas was.

In the Passion narrative other disciples besides Judas also fail. Peter denies he even knows Jesus; all of the disciples flee and leave Jesus alone among his enemies at the moment of his arrest—with Mark’s Gospel indicating one of them even left his clothes behind to flee in a naked panic (Mark 15:51). But later Peter weeps tears of repentance and the disciples will regroup in the upper room and there encounter the Risen Christ and take to heart his words of reconciliation—“peace to you.” But Judas forgets God’s forgiving love and, as Matthew’s Gospel reports, turns back in despair to the religious leaders with whom he had formed his plot. It was not a matter of Jesus ceasing to love Judas, even in the midst of betrayal, but of Judas underestimating the unconditional love of Jesus for him.

“Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.”

No comments:

Post a Comment