Enemies no More
(12th Ordinary Sunday: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Rom. 5:12-15; Matthew 10: 26-33)
Do you have enemies? We all know persons who dislike us, who may bear a resentment against us. But enemies seek our harm and rejoice in our downfall. It is easy to wish the same upon them, as Jeremiah does.
He prays, “O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause.” It is a prayer for justice, but the vindication he seeks involves the punishment of his enemies.
Today’s responsorial consists of eight verses selected from Psalm 69. If you read all thirty-seven verses, you will find a series of curses. Here is just one: “Make their eyes so dim they cannot see; keep their backs ever feeble.”
As human beings, we can understand such a reaction on the part of victims of injustice. As Christians, however, we cannot forget Jesus’ commandment: “Love your enemies.” In today’s Gospel, speaking of persecutions to come, he gently encourages us: “You are worth more than many sparrows.” Trust, not vengeance.
As members of the La Salette Family worldwide, we try to live by these principles, with a special concern for Reconciliation. Fighting the evils of the day means looking for ways to put a stop to enmity wherever it exists.
However, the cessation of hostilities is not enough. Reconciliation calls for healing. Our prayer should be “that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries may join hands, and peoples seek to meet together” (Second Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation).
Today’s text from St. Paul states this powerfully: “But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.”
He is referring to what he calls, earlier in this chapter, “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
That was the purpose of Mary’s Apparition at La Salette. The transformation brought about by Reconciliation is infinitely greater than the offense that made Reconciliation necessary.
Wayne Vanasse and Fr. René Butler, M.S.