Today’s gospel (MT 5:43-48) is one that can make me feel as if it would be easier to go back to sleep. Turning over and saying, “Sorry, God. Those questions are too hard for this time in the morning” seems reasonable. It never works, though, because the questions keep nagging.
- If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
- If you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that?
In truth, it’s easy to “hate” (too strong a word for my vocabulary these days) people that I have never met because there has been no energy exchange between us and I have no measure that has come from conversation with them. If I only know about people from what others have said, I may judge from externals rather than the depth of their hearts. I’m not saying that every person in the world is worthy of relationship but dismissing people because of hearsay is not fair. What room does that leave for conversion? Sometimes people who seem unlovable have grown that way because of never having been loved by anyone in their lives. Maybe we are called to be just what they need to see a different way to live. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He knew how to do it and is willing to help us, I think, if we sincerely want to move toward unconditional love.
None of this means that we need to embrace the horrific actions of criminals. What it does mean, to me, is that everyone lives in the circle of God’s love and, if we work to keep our hearts open to possibility, we may just lift up the world a tiny bit toward the good. I’m willing to give it a try.