“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”(Luke 2:35)
To hate a person is to write off that person. It is closing your eyes from all the good the person was in the past or could be in the future. To hate a person is to reach a conclusion about a person as one who is beyond redemption.
Come to think of it, no matter how bad we are, God never hates us. Like the prodigal Father, God continues to love us while waiting for our repentance. The only way we can claim to be like God is to free our hearts from any form of hatred.
Hatred not only prevents us from seeing the good in others, it also leads us into utter darkness. St. John tells us: “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still… he who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” To allow hatred in your heart is to literally blindfold your eyes while walking at night on the street.
Again, hatred is a sign of unforgiveness and a betrayal of our Christian identity: “He who says ‘I know him’ but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” What did Jesus command? Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Did Jesus have enemies? Sure, He had very many. How did Jesus treat his enemies? He said: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Hatred against another is like poison in our body system. This poison, like venom destroys others but more importantly, it damages us by extinguishing the light of God in our hearts. To hate a person is to open your heart for the devil’s manipulation.
In our Gospel passage, the baby Jesus is presented in the temple. So many people spoke well about Jesus. Simeon said something to Mary about the child Jesus; that a sword will pierce through her soul. This was a prophecy of the pain Mary would go through thirty three years later when she watched her son condemned, scourged and crucified before her eyes. When we do not forgive, we further pierce the heart of Jesus. Love, don’t hate.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, open my heart to love as you always do. Amen.
Bible Study: 1st John 2:3-11, Psalm 96 and Luke 2:22-35)