by Frances Correia

‘I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ – Matt 5 44-45

Our image of God is so important. It affects how we relate to God, how we relate to others and to ourselves. Sadly, many of us have grown up with an image of God that makes it hard for us to imagine that God wants to be friends with all of us. Deep down we feel that God stands against us, or is angry with us, or disgusted with us. Often we fall into the trap of thinking that God is for certain groups of people and against others. Usually we put those people whom we don’t like into the group we believe God does not like!

In this Gospel reading we are presented with Jesus’ radical image of God. The consequences of Jesus’ image of God for our lives needs to be looked at carefully. If we want our lives to be reflective of God’s kind of mercy, we must reflect on how we relate to those whom we consider to be our enemies. This could be a real challenge for each one of us. How do we realistically move towards enemy-love? Certainly it will mean honestly acknowledging our enemies. It will involve putting an immediate end to doing anything that is unkind. It will mean stopping our gossip. It could even involve doing something kind for the person that we don’t like. Deepening our capacity to love our enemies is a lifelong journey.

Lord

teach me to love as you love.

Teach me to see all people as you see them.

Open my heart so that I may truly come to know your unconditional love for all your people.

Amen