Jesus asks us to turn the other cheek this week, but perhaps we would prefer to turn a deaf ear. To be impassive towards “your enemies” is one thing, but “to love them” is an entirely different matter all together. This is a standard of Christian life that we rarely achieve. Most of us settle for: “Ignore your enemies”. This level of passivity is not acceptable to Jesus; not because he likes to challenge us with the impossible but because Jesus understands that the way to a free and full human life is to rid ourselves of bitterness, anger and resentment. Love conquers all, they say, and love even conquers our own hearts of darkness. Our “enemies”, whomever we might consider them to be, are bound together in a common human fate: mutual enmity or a freeing generosity of heart. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will befriend our enemies, but it does mean that we will not be trapped by hatred. And once hatred sets-in, it is hard to displace. Hatred is as active and as passionate as love; hatred destroys while love creates. Ignoring our enemy simply paralyses us. So we have a choice: to be destructive; to be paralysed; or to be creative. None of us will wake-up tomorrow befriending our “enemy” simply because Jesus tells us that it is a good idea. But, having listened to the Word, we might take another step towards surrendering to the truth of the deeper dynamics and greater wisdom about human relationships that Jesus embodies. Jesus himself lives and dies by his own axiom, proving that loving our enemies rolls away the stone of a deaden and frozen heart.
Next Sunday is the final Sunday before the commencement of Lent with Ash Wednesday on 1st March. After each of the Masses next weekend, we will prepare for Lent by burning the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration. You might have kept a palm from last year, and if so, please free feel to bring it along next Sunday so that it can be burned along with the other palms. This little ritual after each Mass will help us to focus on the approaching season of Lent, and our hope that Jesus helps us to rise from the ash of our own sin.
|Mar 29, 2017||7 Sunday in Ordinary Time 19.02.2017||Listen||Download|