'The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds. A soul filled with thoughts of sensual desire and hatred is unpurified. If we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts against any man whatsoever for committing any fault, we are utterly estranged from love for God, since love for God absolutely precludes us from hating any man.'
--St. Maximos the Confessor: (580 – 662: was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar)
Gospel Text: (MT 5:43-48)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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 and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus calls us to look upon people (including the self) as God does. Jesus encourages us to turn away from the human tendency to idolize the self and let God be the one to execute judgment on his creations. God is the one who causes the sun to rise and fall over the good and bad (v. 45). We were not created to leverage judgment upon the world; we were created for and out of love—that is our purpose. This passage is another reminder of our reason for being.
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