Love seems to be the central theme of today’s first reading and gospel reading. In our first reading today from Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18, the Lord tells Moses to remind the Israelites not to bear hatred for their brothers or sisters in their hearts and not to take revenge or cherish a grudge against any of their people. Rather, He urged them to love their neighbors as themselves. Jesus in the gospel reading from the gospel of Matthew 5:38-48 teaches us that Love is the greatest commandment and emphasizes to us that the virtue of Love goes beyond retaliation and should be extended to our enemies as well.

Love as taught us in the Catholic Faith is a selfless sacrifice of God for our redemption and salvation shown in Christ Jesus. This definition of Love clearly explains to us why Jesus urged us to let our love overcome the thought or act of retaliation and to love our enemies. This indeed is the reason why Love is defined as an act of selflessness and sacrifice. My dear friends in Christ, how can one let go of the pain caused them by others and not try to pay them back in or with their own coins? How can one love his or her enemy knowing that they wish them nothing but evil in their hearts and show it in their actions? It seems really difficult to put these words of Christ into practice. Yes of course it is difficult, but it is not impossible to accomplish. Jesus actually showed us that this can be done by giving His life for us on the cross and by asking His Father to forgive us for we know not what we are doing. With His death on the cross, Jesus showed us that Love doesn’t retaliate and that we can truly love our enemies.

My brothers and sisters, it is time to live out the commandment of Love. It is also time to learn from Jesus on how to love our enemies and how to let go of the hurt to avoid retaliation. So, let us strive to love one another as God loves us and love our enemies by being humble and forgiving as God is to us.