Commentary on the Gospel of

Fr. Roland Onuekwusi Chidiebere, CMF

Love your enemy

*After murdering, do you also take possession?
*Have you found me out, my enemy?
* Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

We are presented with two extremes: ‘an enemy, who turned himself into an enemy of his lover’; and ‘a lover, who loves even his enemies.’ Ahab through the instrumentality of his wife Jezebel turned himself into an enemy of God who loved him and let him govern his people. He snatched away the life of (Naboth) his citizen whom he was meant to protect and was taking possession of his vineyard. As if that meant nothing to him, he led Israel into sin, worshiping idols like the Amorites! And he extended the same hatred towards the prophet of God, saying to him: ‘have you found me out, my enemy?’ Other kings used to mutually guard and guide God’s people with the prophets. But Ahab resorts to the contrary! My dear, ‘evil is evil!’ Once it enters into one’s mental process, the best thing is to quickly flush it out before it spreads its roots. Let us not give evil tendencies the least opportunity to occupy our minds, as it took hold of Ahab.

The good news is that we have a lover who readily forgives us. When Ahab became repentant, God immediately had mercy on him saying: ‘have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me? I will not bring the evil in his time.’ Our repentance means a lot to our Lord and God. This is where the sacrament of reconciliation performs wonders in our lives when we empty ourselves of our iniquities, we are let free!

This same God who forgives us bids us to ‘love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, like our heavenly Father whose sun rises on the good and the bad.’ To our human nature this teaching is alien, for the natural tendency is to revenge! But revenge does not set us free, instead it heightens the weight of our psycho-spiritual burden. But when we forgive, we let go and become lighter!

Love lets us embrace the sacrifice that goes with forgiving. And when we forgive, we become the first benefactors, because we become relieved of the burden of unforgiveness. O Lord Jesus Christ, give us the grace to always forgive without counting costs, amen.


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