Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Mt.5:43-48
Today’s gospel speaks to me about the compelling power of love. Jesus challenges me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. He invites me to ask myself, “Who are my enemies?” Growing up in a broken household, I found it difficult recalling a particular moment where I felt loved as a young girl. My parents divorced despite my constant effort in trying to be the “perfect” daughter. Crippled by fear and hatred, there was always a deep sense of sadness and loneliness inside of me. I began to build an invisible brick walk as a shield to protect my heart from damage and pain. The very people who I loved and cherished became my enemies because I could not learn how to forgive them. I was angry with God for not answering my prayers and allowing my suffering to exist.
As I grew older, I began to understand the true meaning of love when I recognized His presence in my life. God is always there through the darkest moments of my life and He never fails to stop loving me. He is the missing father, mother, and ultimate lover that I seek. He loves me for who I am and not because I am perfect. Through the grace and mercy of God, I am able to accept my family and choose to love them again. Sometimes, it is so much easier to love a compatible friend, a helpful coworker, or even a humorous stranger on the street than the people that are dearest to us. They are the hardest ones to love because they tend to hurt us the most. But true love endures and perfects through trials and sufferings. God calls me through the gospel today to mirror His example of true love and perfection.
Dear God, please help me to be a witness of your true love on this earth. Help me to shatter the brick wall I have built over the years and cultivate within me your love to befriend all of my enemies.
Thuy Phuong Trinh