A Word from Fr. Chris
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
There was a story of a Major General of an army who told his bodyguard to count the number of their opponents killed or wounded in the battle field during the cease fire. There and then he heard a wounded soldier crying for water. The Major General ordered the bodyguard to go for a drink of water. As the bodyguard stooped down to allow him to drink, little did he know that the wounded soldier hid his rifle under him and aimed and fired at the Major General but missed him. The bodyguard, infuriated, wanted to finish off this wounded soldier but the Major General said, “No. Do not harm him. Give him the water he asked for.”
This short story demonstrates what it means to love and forgive another person considered to be our enemy who wanted to do us harm or evil or who has called us bad names. Christ called this better attitude of life a new Commandment of Love that replaces that of the old that said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But Jesus said, “Now I tell you, do not take revenge on someone who does you wrong. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left, too and if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well….” (Matthew 5:88). Although this saying is not to be interpreted literally, it points out how difficult it is to practice this new teaching. But it has to be accepted. Continuing He said, “You have heard it said, love your friends and hate your enemies. But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you so that you become the sons of your Father in heaven who allows his sun to shine on bad and good people alike and gives rain to those who do right and wrong. If you don’t, why do you expect God to give you a reward. And if you save your greetings only for your friends, have you done anything exceptional? Even the pagans do so as well. Do they not?” Christ was very exemplary not only in His teaching but also in His life. He died for us while we were still sinners and out of love prayed for his executioners. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they did” (Luke 23P:34).
Who could not also admire David in the first reading who did not take revenge on Saul who was after him, but said, “I will not lay my hands on the anointed man of God” (1 Samuel 26:9).
“We are, therefore, to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).