Jesus promises great rewards to those who love their enemies. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he can form his conscience upon Christ and His Church and by pursuing the Virtue of Prudence so he can more consistently make holy choices.
7th Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle C – Lk 6:27-38
Continuing with the summation of the New Covenant in His Sermon on the Plain, Jesus commands His disciples to love their enemies and to refrain from judging and condemning others. Jesus’ revelation of the supremacy of love is revolutionary, for He extends the love Israel must have for other Israelites to include all people, not only Gentiles, but actual enemies. Jesus’ call to love enemies was completely countercultural in the ancient Middle East and even most places today.
Jesus commands His disciples to love everyone, and describes specific acts of love which His disciples are to take. His edict of an astounding level of love has no exceptions, even for enemies who attack; He requires disciples to love those who hate, curse, abuse, strike, or take one’s possessions. Rather than simply refraining from physically counter-attacking those enemies who attack, Jesus’ disciples are not to mentally counter-attack, refraining from internal thoughts of judging or condemning the sins of others; instead, His disciples are to take the radical step to forgive those who sin against them. He commands His disciples to be generous, and to “love your enemies and do good…expecting nothing in return.”
Rather than simply issue commandments, Jesus offers a rationale for why men should take up His call to revolutionary love. It is in a man’s self-interest to live by the Golden Rule, treating others with love, for many will be loving in return. He explains that His followers must live to a higher standard; otherwise, they are no better than sinners. He confirms that those who do not judge and condemn will not be judged and condemned. Jesus promises, “your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus, the perfection of Meekness and Charity, as He rejects anger and retaliation against some forms of injustice, commanding men to pursue Meekness (a part of Temperance) and to Forgive (a Spiritual Work of Mercy) those who sin against them; Jesus, will demonstrate His perfection of Forgiveness as He mercifully forgives those who have crucified Him from the Cross.
Form your conscience upon Christ and His Church
Realize: Jesus’ commandment to love enemies is a radical departure from a man’s natural instincts to protect and retaliate; it requires the radical commitment to form one’s mind by Catholic morals and a disciplined effort to see the world with Christ’s eyes and react in imitation of Jesus in every situation.
Believe: Reflect upon the Judgment and Formation of Conscience (CCC 1783-1785, 1798).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so I am aided by You as I strive to form my conscience by a life-long effort of deeply reflecting upon Jesus and His teachings as perfectly preserved in His Holy Catholic Church.
Grow in prudence to make holy choices
Realize: When men are confronted by unjust attacks in the world, Jesus desires men to prudently use their free will to choose to react with love, imitating His teachings and example; every Catholic man is called to rigorously form his conscience based on the sure teaching of the Holy Catholic Church and to always strive to “do the right thing”, which is to make the right choices based on a well-formed Catholic conscience.
Believe: Consider how to Choose in Accordance with Conscience (CCC 1786-1789, 1800).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Wisdom, help me build the Virtue of Prudence so I can accurately perceive events, carefully analyze how to best react consistent with my well-formed conscience, and heroically choose to imitate You, particularly when I am confronted with unjust attacks.