Tuesday Eleventh Week Ordinary Time at Ferdinand Benedictines
[Scripture Readings: 2 Cor 8:1-9; Mt. 5:43-48 ]
“I say to you, love your enemies…” Actually, do we even truly love our family and friends? A woman bumped into a stranger in the checkout line at Walmarts. “Excuse me,” she said, smiling apologetically. But that evening, while doing the dishes , her young son stood behind her. She turned, and nearly knocked him down. “Get out of my way,” she said harshly, with a frown on her face. Later, when she sat down to rest, she remembered her courtesy to a stranger in contrast to the abuse she plopped on her own little boy. Feeling remorse, she went to his room, knelt by his bedside and said, “I'm sorry for the way I spoke to you today.” He threw his arms around her neck and whispered, “Oh, Mom, that's okay, I love you.” Then he reached over to a bedside table for a bouquet of flowers. “Here” he said, “I picked these today because they're pretty, like you.” Then she cried from mixed emotions of shame and happiness. She kissed him, and hugged him very close. Jesus wants us to love our enemies, but first we must begin by truly loving our family and friends.
Forgetfulness, pettiness, selfishness, bitterness, withdrawal, anger, frustration, apathy, laziness, all these wage constant war against really loving even those who are closest to us. Brother Giles, the companion and disciple of St. Francis, once said, “It is a great grace to live at peace with those around you.” Whoever manages to live in peace and love with others only does so by dint of constant spiritual exercise. It's hard work getting beyond our self-centeredness.
When Charlie Brown says, “All it would take to make me happy is to have someone say he likes me.” Lucy replies, “Are you sure? You mean you'd be happy if someone merely says she likes you? Do you mean to tell me that someone has the power to make you happy merely by doing such a simple thing?” Charlie Brown nods his head. Lucy reflects, “Well, I don't think that's asking too much, I really don't. But you're sure now? All you want is to have someone say, 'I like you' and then you'll be happy?” He looks at her expectantly and says, “Yes, then I'll be happy.” Lucy turns and walks away saying, “I can't do it.” Can you?