Sunday readings reflection: Holiness manifest in love

February 20, 2022

1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Luke 6:27-38

The Commandments are summed up in this sentence: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In business and in war, there is a strategy that is often repeated, “Keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer.” In any competition, the better we know our competitor, the more we can defend against their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.

However, while clever and strategic, this is not what Jesus meant by telling his followers to love their enemies. Jesus was not trying to gain an advantage over his adversaries with his call to love. Nor was he giving his followers tips on gaining a competitive edge by knowing their enemies better than they know their friends. Jesus was not throwing out a tolerance statement or a call to coexist or a plea of “can’t we all just get along?” Jesus meant what he said and even expounded on how to show that love. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

David showed this before Christ said it. He was hunted by Saul but instead of letting him be killed by his henchman, he let Saul live. The Psalmist writes of the Lord being kind and merciful. And St. Paul tells us that is what we are to emulate–the kindness, mercy, and love of Christ, “to bear the image of the heavenly one.”

Our command to love is, above all else, a call to holiness. Created in the image and likeness of God, our holiness depends on truly being the image and likeness of God–not in appearance but in how we live our lives. We were born in love, from love, to love. It’s not a competitive advantage, but a full circle of holiness.

Lord, your command to love my enemy is hard. But I know that in doing so, I am making my return to the Father. Grant me courage, strength, and perseverance in my sanctifying practice of love that I may one day live with you in the Father’s Kingdom. Amen


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