“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. (from "Loving Your Enemies")” ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Gospel Text: (MT 15: 21-28)
At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
"Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon."
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
"Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us."
He said in reply,
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me."
He said in reply,
"It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs."
She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters."
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
"O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish."
And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Though the Canaanite woman was a Gentile, looked down upon by the Jews as second class, this did not deter her from seeking Jesus' help for the healing of her daughter. The woman's faith, praised by Jesus, was truly admirable in its humility and persistence.
Oftentimes we are discouraged and become over anxious due to our problems and concerns, making us forget that we have a loving heavenly Father looking over us. In our distress we try to figure out and solve our problems on our own, at times even disregarding our Christian values: we feel the easier way is less troublesome, not realizing that it could lead to more serious problems.
Lord Jesus, make us constantly aware of your loving presence in our hearts. Make us not forget that we always have you as a Friend with unequalled power caring for us. Make our faith in you grow stronger, our hope firmer and our dependence on you more complete.