“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” (Romans 12:14)
The Christian values to say the least, are contrary to popular beliefs and practices. Yesterday, Jesus told us that when we throw a party, we should not invite our family members, friends or rich neighbours. I bet, even the holiest Christians on planet earth find it difficult to obey this rule.
Today, we hear St. Paul in his letter to the Romans corroborating the teaching of Jesus regarding how we are to treat our enemies and those who persecute us. St. Paul says: “Bless and do not curse them.” As Jesus would say: “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.” (Luke 6:29-30)
This is definitely a tough one. In our moments of pain, there is a spirit that takes over us; we become restless until we are able to inflict as much pain as possible on the person(s) responsible for our pain. When we cannot fight back with our hands, we use our mouth; we say things that are vile and we utter curses forgetting that God does not respond to such utterances.
How is it possible to practice what St. Paul is saying? Simple, think of the other person as an extension of yourself. In other words, whatever evil you do, whatever curse you utter comes back to you. How? You may wonder. We are all one in this universe.
St. Paul begins today’s first reading by saying: “Brethren, we though many, are one body in Christ, and individually, members of one another.” (Romans 12:5). Jesus explains this principle when He said: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31). We are so connected in this world that whatever good or evil we send out affects humanity as a whole; it affects us too.
Revenge always feels like justice served, but it comes back to destroy us as well. Throw a stone at someone, it lands on your head. Do a good deed to your enemy, your life is uplifted for it. As Jesus told us yesterday, feed those that cannot and would never pay you back, you will be rewarded by God Himself.
Please, avoid giving God excuses as to why you think you cannot be kind to your enemies or why you cannot bless those who have offended you in the past. There should be no excuse. Do not be like the men (in the parable Jesus gave us in today’s Gospel passage) who gave excuses as to why they cannot attend the wedding banquet. One said he had just married a wife, one had just bought a land, another had just got five yokes of oxen and so on and so forth. They say if you don’t want to do something, you will always have an excuse. Yes, they hurt you badly, you don’t deserve what they did to you, it is still paining you but you have no excuse. Don’t pay back evil with evil, be good to everyone not because they deserve it, but because you are another Jesus.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me overcome my hatred. In moments of deep anger and pain, make me wise enough to bless and not curse. Amen.
Bible Study: Romans 12:5-16, Psalm 131 and Luke 14:15-24).