joan reicheltSister Joan Reichelt
Saturday of the First Week of Lent

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.”  Mathew 5:  43-46

 Really, Jesus?  Pray for my enemies?  Well, OK, I can do that.  Personally, I don’t believe I have any enemies, no one in my family of sisters or my biological family, none of my relatives, none of my friends and neighbors and people around me;  I do not consider any of them enemies.  Some may be difficult or not always agreeable or think the same as I do ;  I still don’t think of them as enemies.  If any of the people I know view me as an enemy I hope they tell me and are praying for me.

The thing is, Jesus, you have told us to LOVE our enemies.  Now that is a different story than praying for someone.  How can I love those who hate me or wish me harm or see no good in me and my existence?  You tell us that God treats us all the same by having the sun rise on the bad and the good, and the rain to fall on the just and unjust.  God loves us all and has given the beauty of our universe to each person created. 

If I really think this thought through, it is obvious that I cannot eliminate someone or some group from my love.  I can understand loving the God that is in them and honoring them for that dignity and respect for the Divine.  I can hate the evil that they may do and abhor the deeds that are contrary to Jesus’ words.  I can despise the behavior and not the person.

Lent is a great time to reflect on these hard demands from Jesus.  And practice them.  And pray for our friends and our enemies.  And love our friends and our enemies.

Jesus, we hear and read your instructions to us and ask you to help us follow them. 
Do not let us fall into the actions and behaviors and hate of our enemies. 
We strive to be like you who asked us to pray for and LOVE all.