Newsletter – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 24 February 2019

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For a full copy of the Newsletter please click on the link.  7th Sunday in Ordinary Time 240219

‘Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you.’ – Lk.6:27

Each time we experience terrible atrocities and horrible treatment, our sense of love is often hurt, and our capacity to love diminishes. We feel as if I we have two wolves fighting in our heart. One wolf is angry, vengeful, and violent. The other is loving, forgiving and compassionate.’ Unfortunately, the wolf that always wins the fight is the angry, vengeful and violent one, because it’s the one we feed most.

Each of us has the angry, vengeful, and violent wolf inside us, because each of us has those feelings inside us. We should not be afraid to acknowledge this. And how little it takes to arouse those feelings! Nevertheless anger, vengefulness, and violence are dangerous emotions. If we allow them to take possession of us, we could do things we would later regret.

Conversely, each of us also has the loving, forgiving, and compassionate wolf in us. We have those capacities inside us. Love, forgiveness, compassion are beautiful things. If we allow these to take possession of us, we will produce abundant harvest of kind and noble deeds. We must try to feed the loving wolf and starve the angry wolf inside us. This is more or less what Jesus is telling us in the Gospel.

Jesus says to us, ‘Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you.’ The fact is that we find it hard enough sometimes to always love our friends; so how can we be expected to love our enemies? But Jesus is telling us to love, not to hate. We should not have hatred in our hearts for anyone, not even our enemies. When we hate, we expand more energy than in any other emotion. We must not dissipate our strength in hating but save it for better things.

Sadly to say, Christianity has failed to engender in its followers a love that transcends tribal boundaries and loyalties. Often the Christian Churches have simply mirrored a divided society, and thus helped foster a climate in which hatred could flourish.

The way Jesus proposed certainly is not a soft way. It is a hard way, but it is a better way. The injunction ‘Love your enemy’ is a radical rejection of violence. Jesus challenges us to respond to darkness with light. Revenge and retaliation only add darkness to darkness. The escalation of evil can only be stopped by one who absorbs it, without passing it on.

Our hearts were only made for love, not for hate. And love is far more beautiful than hate. Hate can only poison the heart. Love on the contrary, purifies and softens the heart. At all cost then, we must keep love in our heart. If we pray for our enemies, peace will certainly come to us. And when we love our enemies, we can be certain that divine grace dwells in us.

Fr Odinaka Nwadike