Jesus said to his disciples:“You have heard that it was said,An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.When someone strikes you on your right cheek,turn the other one as well.If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,hand over your cloak as well.Should anyone press you into service for one mile,go for two miles.Give to the one who asks of you,and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father..." (Excerpt of Mt. 5:38-48)
“You have heard that it was said,
Growing up in a typical Filipino family has its ups and downs. Being the oldest and a male child has its advantages over a younger female child. Looking back on my life, I can say that my relationship with my sister is much different now than then. As children, we fought often like cats and dogs. The smallest thing can begin the war of words. One time I remember we fought about something and was determined not to talk to each other ever again. How could I forgive her for what she said?
In the Gospel reading this past Sunday, Jesus reminds us to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors, and offer our other cheek when someone strikes the other. Today, my relationship with my sister has grown into a loving and understanding one. My journey towards the priesthood of Christ has really help me grow in this dimension of the Christian life. It seems to me that it would be difficult to be a holy priest if you can't forgive and forget. God self-emptied himself (Kenosis) and took our form in the person of Jesus to restore our relationship with God and neighbor.
How many of us want to become true children of God? Then we must live up to the challenge that is outlined in the following antiphon.
"If you want to be true children of your heavenly Father, then you must pray for those who persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you, says the Lord"
- Canticle of Mary Antiphon for Evening Prayer I