Love your enemies, is it worth it?

Fr. Anthony Le

Love your enemies, as I ponder this commandment from our lord, I am chastised because I failed miserably. I remember looking back; I think I could name two big enemies. As a child I considered a man who called me worthless my enemy. Seven years old walking on a street, and he says "this little boy won't be and won't do anything good in life" so I harbor hatred and anger toward him for a long time, until I heard about him being hospitalized. I came to visit him in the hospital and we had a good talk. Only then, I dropped him from the list of being my enemies. the second big enemy had to do with god. The biggest, biggest loss of my life has to do with my mother. At the age of nine, I didn't know much more than this tremendous sense of loss, and God was the one responsible for it. he took my mom away as Mike had told me so. So I hated him for that. I was mad at him for that for a long time, until I became a priest. I dropped him off the list, otherwise I wouldn't stand here and tell you about god.

I’m sharing with you so that we could once again take a look at this commandment: how is it possible truly to love our enemies. The word love and the word enemy don't normally come together. but for Jesus, they belong to the same sentence. Love your enemies.

Let’s understand once again what Jesus means by love. 'Love' according to Greek philosophy, tradition, and also in the context of the gospel. The author used the word 'love' here, very uniquely. different from how you and I understand it.

'Eros' is a Greek word describing the love, a romantic and passionate love between a man and a woman. In this context this is not that kind of love. Jesus did not ask that we develop a romantic kind of love with our enemies. No, no,

Second - filial love, not here either. Filial love has to do with the love between a mother and a child, or father and a child, or among friends, close friends, that kind of love. We are not asked to develop without enemies either.

The word being used in this context is the word agape (20220130 sermon), sacrificial love. It’s no longer an emotional response to a romantic partner; it's no longer an emotional response to somebody that we call friend, or father, mother, child, daughter, and son. No, there's a decision of the will. That I make a decision to respect you, your human dignity made in god's image, I make a decision to look at you as somebody who is capable of being better, capable of being saved. And that is how God looks at you and me.

We are called God's enemies according to Saint Paul not because of our nature as human beings, no, due to the sins committed that hurt God, hurt one another, hurt ourselves. According to Saint Paul, we made ourselves enemies of God because what we do, not what we are as his children. So he makes a distinction between the person and the acts carried out by that human person, for whatever reason known to God alone. So our lord decided to be part of our human race so that he could demonstrate how God loves us in such a way. According to the psalmist today, God is so merciful and kind, that while we were sinners, he died for us on the cross. Just like the sun rises both for the good, and the bad, and ugly alike. Just like rain comes down from heaven for all. the mercy of God being showered upon you and I. all equally the same. Because in his eyes, your dignity, and my dignity, we are sharing the same thing - his beloved, created children.

But he did not like how we do things, he did not like how we hurt one another, by our thoughts, by our actions, by the way in which we'll live our life. That's why we are asked once again - love your enemies, those we consider opposing us, those who hurt us, those who make our life miserable.

An example in the first reading today. Saul made David’s life very, very, difficult, very difficult. but how did David repeat or treat the king who wanted to kill him. He had a perfect opportunity, he did not kill king Saul, because he realized that vengeance returns vengeance. only makes the matter worse. And plus this guy being anointed by god. so, he spared his life only then king Saul acknowledged what he had done wrong. The goodness, generosity, and mercy of David allows king Saul to see the truth, and therefore open up for salvation. David saves Saul by being kind and merciful in exactly the same way our lord saves you and I by demonstrating on the cross that he loves us, his goodness, his love and mercy, allows you and I, like saint peter would say "the patience and mercy of God is our salvation, our opportunity to come back to him".

Now we may ask if we put on a modern mindset. Cost benefits analysis of some kind. What do we gain when we show love, mercy toward our enemies? According to Jesus, there are three things that we're going to gain.

First we're going to be just like our heavenly father. Sometimes we are afraid of hearing this word - "be perfect like our heavenly father is perfect". The word 'perfect' in this context is not perfection like god. You and I won't ever be perfect like god. The word here means 'complete'. 'complete', we have been made in the image of God from the beginning. Adam ruins the plan, makes us susceptible to temptation and sin and therefore we suffer and struggle in our life. our weakness, we could feel it daily. Yet, we also are made in the image of god. Image of Christ as he invited you and I to be part of his family, accepting with the love that we demonstrated. we're going to be completed . Your joy shall be completed as I go away, and I send you the Holy Spirit. Did he not tell us before he returned to the heavenly father? That kind of completion. This is one more step that makes everything complete, this is an extra step that makes you and I finish the race. Amazing race that's the first benefit

Second, we're going to gain our brothers and sisters, those we consider perhaps husband, wife, children, friends, who betrayed us. I’m not talking about continuing to allow them to hurt us. no, I’m talking about treating them with respect and honor even though we are hurt by their behaviors, and yet don't put up with the kind of behaviors that hurt us. We better stop them; allow them to see the truth of their behaviors so that they have an opportunity to return. Truth will set us free. If we do so with love and mercy, we stand to gain another human soul for god.

And the last, the last, we, yourself will receive a great reward in heaven. As our lord says, the more we give, the more we shall receive. The way we measure out mercy, and love, the way we're going to receive. Because only the heart is empty so that it could be filled, only then, can we share continually. Otherwise, if the heart is filled with hatred and anger, we don't have peace, we don't have life either. Why spend energy on hatred and anger and resentment? why don't we spend it on love, mercy and kindness and imitation of Christ our lord. Those are three beautiful gifts we shall receive.

How about the cost? Well, just look at Jesus. Pain is accepted, suffering is guaranteed, going to be a while hanging, on the cross and dying. So my brothers and sisters, now we have to make a decision - whether this painful experience of loving somebody, is it worth it? And so for God, is it worth it? To have eternal life, is it worth it to really live out this way? I dare to say, it's worth it. My brothers and sisters, it's worth it. Because our lord has shown us that we are with it. our lord has shown us you and I, regardless of what we have done, how evil things that we contemplate in our mind, how things that we have done in our life, our lord is still saying, you are my beloved son and daughter, I wanted to be with you forever, you are my beloved children, you are worth it. Amazing isn't it?

so my dear brothers and sisters, love is no longer cliché, it's real, and tangible, and we could do it today. Let’s begin with a kind thought, let's begin with a kind prayer that begins with respect. and the good lord will






第一種愛是希臘字 eros。 祂描述了男人和女人之間浪漫而充滿激情的愛情。耶穌並沒有要求我們與仇人有浪漫的關係。這不是耶穌的愛。

第二種愛是filial - 孝愛及友情的情懷。這也不是耶穌所說的愛。孝愛,友情就是母子之愛,父子之愛,朋友之愛,親朋之愛。這種愛,通常沒有愛仇的掙扎。

第三種愛是 Agape (基督的愛 20220130 sermon) ,犧牲的愛。它不是一種對伴侶的浪漫情感,也不是對朋友或父親、母親、孩子、兒女的親懷。不,它是一個自由意志的選擇。我決定尊重你,因為你是以天主形象塑造的人,是一個能夠變得更好、能夠被拯救的人。這正是天主看待你和我的方式。

聖保祿說,並不是人類的本性使我們變成了天主的敵人,而是因為我們犯罪傷害了天主,傷害了彼此,也傷害了自己。他將人和他的行為分開來。我們變成了天主的敵人是因為我們的行為,並不是因為我們是人。那麼為什麼一個人會有某種行為,那只有天主知道了。所以主決定要成為人類,來證明祂是如何愛了我們。今天的聖詠說,天主是如此的仁慈,善良,當我們還是罪人時,他就為我們死在十字架上。太陽升起,照耀了好人,也照耀了壞人,和醜陋的人。雨從天降下也是一樣滋潤了每一個人。天主以同樣的仁慈傾注在每一個人的身上。在祂心中,你的尊嚴,我的尊嚴,我們的身份都是一樣的,都是他所心愛的,都是祂的愛子。但他不喜歡我們的行徑,我們的互相傷害,我們的邪思,惡行,和生活方式。這就是為什麼我們再次被要求 - “愛你的仇人”。 他要我們愛那些反對我們的人,愛那些傷害我們的人,愛那些讓我們的生活悲慘的人。

讀經一給了我們一個很好的例子。撒烏耳王追殺達味,使達味難以生存、非常的困難。直到有一天,達味有一個絕好的機會去殺死追殺他的國王。但是他意識到,有仇必報,只會讓事情變得更糟,並且他了解撒烏耳也是被天主傅油派遣的君王。所以,達味沒有對撒烏耳下手。撒烏耳看到了真理而道歉。 達味的善良和仁慈開啟了救恩的大道,就像主耶穌在十字架上以祂的愛來拯救我們一樣。主的善良、愛和憐憫,讓我們回到祂的身邊,正如聖彼得所說的“天主的耐心和仁慈就是我們的救贖,給了我們回到祂身邊的機會”。


第一,我們將更相似我們的天父。有時我們很害怕聽到“像我們的天父一樣的完美”。在這裡“完美”並不是所謂“天主的完美”。我們永遠不會有天主般的完美。這裡“完美”的意思是“完成”。 從起初,我們就是按照天主的肖像受造的。可是亞當破壞了這個計劃,他使我們很容易就受到誘惑和罪惡的影響。所以我們生活中充滿了痛苦和掙扎。我們每天都受到這個弱點的攻擊。然而,我們也是按照天主的肖像受造的。基督邀請我們成為祂家庭的一員。當我們接受基督的愛並表現出所接受的愛,我們的受造就完成了。基督復活升天前告訴了我們:當我離開時,我會賜給你們另一位護慰者,你的喜樂就會圓滿無缺。這個圓滿的完成,是一切圓滿完成的又一步。這個額外的步驟使我們能夠完成我們的比賽。這個驚人的比賽,