My Dear Sisters and Brothers! We may think now that what Jesus invites us to do is opposite to common sense. How can we open wide our heart to someone who not only doesn’t appreciate it but who hurts us as well? To answer this question let me fast forward to the day when we find Jesus on the cross. Not many people were left there but St Luke gives us some final words of the dying Saviour of the World. What did Jesus say on the cross that St Luke wants us to treasure and to ponder? In his terrible agony Jesus loved his enemies, those who condemned him to death and those who crucified him. How do we know that? Despite his pain, when every cell of his body screamed with pain, Jesus made an effort to say loudly some prayer. It was not a prayer for pain relief but for his enemies: ‘Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.’ He even managed to find an excuse for what they did to him!
Our common sense resists such thing. However both Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Plain about loving enemies and his own example of doing it are the grace to transform our rebellious mentality from within of our anger and hatred.
As Jesus went into the ‘belly of the beast,’ which was exemplified by those who hated him and wanted to do away with him, as he goes into the darkness of our heart and mind where we harbor resentment and a sense of vengeance. Why does he go there? To be crucified again? He will be crucified again by us if we cling to our conviction that it is our fundamental right to be angry at some people and refuse them our forgiveness. St Paul in the Letter to the Ephesians put it this way: ‘Even if you are angry you must not sin.’ How can we avoid sinning when we get angry with someone? In the same letter St Paul gives us some good and divine advice: ‘never let the sun set on your anger.’ It means: you may find yourself angry, mad etc. but make it your way of dealing with it that before the sunset you will weed out your anger. Let Jesus, the Rising Sun; dispel the darkness of your hatred and anger.
Jesus doesn’t promise that your love for enemies will be reciprocated. What Jesus promises is that you will be a true missionary going on a mission to your own heart in order to ‘model it on the heavenly man’ - Christ himself. What a mission it is! What a fruit it can bear!
St Paul in the First Letter to the Corinthians wrote: ‘The first man Adam, as scripture says, became living soul; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.’ By the last Adam St Paul meant Jesus Christ.
My Dear fellow strugglers in faith! When the Sacred Heart of Jesus was wide open on the cross, when blood and water poured out, there was the spirit of forgiveness released for us so that we can ‘be compassionate as our Father is compassionate.’ This is the Gospel. This is the Good News for us. Take this Gospel, this Good News, into the darkness of your own heart and mind. Let it work from within. There are still a few hours before the sunset. Use them well to get rid of your anger. For Jesus’s sake do it.