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Love your enemies? Even today?

I am seriously looking for answers to a question.

First, a little background.

In the Catholic lectionary, today’s Gospel from Luke chapter 6 reads as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you …”

When I heard the beginning of this reading I found myself saying,
“No, no, not today, not after all that has happened!”

Of course I am referring to the horrendous murders of the Ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats, and the overpowering of our embassies in Egypt, Yemen and possibly beyond.

I remember learning from Father Robert Barron’s excellent video series, Catholicism that the meaning of this scripture was that our apparent passivity (meaning our radical goodness) would reflect the evil back onto our enemy like a mirror, causing the enemy to repent. And if that person did not repent, you, at least, remained innocent, earning your reward in heaven.

Applying this scripture on an individual basis is possible (especially with the help of God’s grace). I believe however that scripture has a universal application. Therefore, the question:

If we are to love our enemies, what is the proper response to the chaos in Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Middle East? How are we to respond to the heinous murder of our diplomats? May their souls rest in peace and may God console their families.

What would Jesus do?

ADDENDUM: While driving home from work I prayed the  Divine Mercy, a prayer honoring the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the salvation of the world. The prayer is short:

“Eternal Father, I offer you the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and for all the world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

As I prayed this prayer, I looked at a picture of the crucifix on my dashboard and it began to dawn on me that Jesus lived His teaching:

He loved His enemies. He turned the other cheek.

He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified, surrendering His earthly authority and submitting to the Divine Authority of His Heavenly  Father. As a result, a total humiliating defeat was transformed into a miraculous victory: He was risen from the dead.

Jesus employed radical love, as He taught in Luke 6 and the results were more powerful than could ever have been achieved from any human effort.

What does this mean?

In trying to apply this insight to the chaos happening overseas, I realized that first we must lay down our own earthly authority and submit to Divine authority. We do that through prayer.

Prayer for our enemies. Prayer for guidance. And the humility to say, “Lord, we have no idea what we are supposed to do. Lead and guide us.”

We all can have a part in this. We all can pray.

As a nation we need to petition our Heavenly Father. Perhaps we can begin with the prayer of Divine Mercy:

“Eternal Father, I offer you the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and for all the world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Here we can begin.

I would love to hear your insight. Surely this is a teaching that all Christians grapple with.

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