A Hard Pill To Swallow

11 Sep

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.”  (Lk 6:27-36)

Could today’s gospel come at a more appropriate time?  Some might say inappropriate, though, for, after all, it is a vivid reminder to us that we are to love all people, to pray for all who persecute us, and to be merciful as God is merciful.

Today has been called “Patriot Day” in memory of all those who perished in terrorist attacks against our country on September 11, 2001.

For the many people who have been scarred by the events of that day, as well as the terrorist actions taking place throughout the years, it might be a bit much for us to consider loving our enemy or having mercy upon those who wish us harm.

No one ever said that embracing God’s will was easy.

Jesus knew that.  He not only spoke those powerful words, He lived them.  He loved His enemies and His persecutors, even going so far as to say “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” as He hung upon the cross.

Do we need to learn lessons from that awful day in 2001?  Sure.  Do we need to do a better job at preserving our freedom?  No doubt about it.

At the same time, we have to do a better job about embracing the gospel.  We must love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.  We must ask God to come into their lives lest they be lost forever.  As much as we might not want to hear it, they are our brothers and sisters.

We do well to remember the fallen this day.  We do well to consider how we might best preserve freedom in our country and our world.

We also do well to remember that we are God’s children and that we need to live as He asks us to live.  It is a high standard to follow but it is well worth the cost.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for all those who perish by acts of terrorism.  Pray as well for those who perpetrate these crimes against humanity that they repent and return to God.