Love for Enemies (Lk 6:27-36)
We say God is LOVE. Why? Jesus is God’s manifestation of God’s love in this world. Nobody could have taught about God’s love more authentically than Jesus; because he himself was God’s love. We should know how he loved us to understand the depths of his love. He manifested his love through his death on the Cross. He taught his disciples to glorify God through their love for one another. He gave them a new commandment to “love as I have loved you”. His teachings came from what he had heard from the Father. He taught based on what he saw his Father doing. The whole teaching of Jesus comes from his intimate communion with his heavenly Father. The summary of Jesus’ teachings is found in Luke Chapter 6. It is like the sermon on the Mount that we find in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Jesus gives a new outlook towards our relationship with other human beings. It is a cordial relationship built on the love and merciful face of God that Jesus himself wanted to present to humanity.
To love everyone, even the enemies, Jesus tells us: do good to them. He asks us to go beyond the earthly way of relating to the other, which is usually based on profit – loss relationship. In today’s world, banks are giving a lot of advertisements inviting everyone to take loan from their bank. The bank seems to be people oriented. Once the loan is taken, the poor are often unable to pay back even the interests which are so high. Jesus’ teaching, which was given over more than 2000 years ago is still relevant. He wants us not only to lend, but rather, he tells us: “expect nothing in return”. If we, like the bankers, lend only to those from whom we hope to receive, what credit is that to us? It is only when one’s love goes beyond natural human relationships and expectations that God’s reward will come to us. Jesus’ teaching is centered on his life. To follow him means, to open our hearts to the wisdom of the Cross, to embrace everyone, even those who hate us. This Gospel is truly the gospel of love. There is no space for hatred or enmity in such a cordial relationship. He tells us that even if someone takes away your goods (which we usually understand as stealing), Jesus tells us to be kind to that person and not to ask for them again.
Most of us love those who love us. It is not anything unusual. However, such a love won’t be rewarded by God. Jesus says: “even sinners love those who love them”. He wants every human being to know the merciful God and to present the merciful and compassionate face of God to other human beings, especially to those who deserve no mercy. He says: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful”. To show mercy to someone means to give him what he does not deserve. God’s love for humanity is the manifestation of his merciful love. We who were sinners, received his mercy by his death on the cross. He took upon himself the punishment we deserved, and he freed us. He made us children of God and gave us the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to walk in the path of God.
‘To do good to those who hate us’ is no ordinary task. It is an invitation to forgive that person from the depths of our hearts. By doing good to that person, we are learning to forgive that person gradually. The wounds in us will be healed by the good that we do. By loving the enemies, by blessing those who curse and by praying for those who abuse us, we are treating the rest of the world as we would have them treat us. It is the key to inner happiness and healthy relationships, and a strong society built on the values taught by Jesus. Unlike other teachers, Jesus the Guru teaches us these values by his very life and example. Everything that he taught was practiced on the way to Calvary; and on the Cross, he reconciles the entire humanity with God the Father. Let us ask our Lord to strengthen us with the power of His Spirit to love all and to imitate our Lord closely. Amen!