7th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 23/2/2020 - Gospel: Mt 5: 38-48
Some people we love dearly; others we love less; others again we don't love at all or just ignore them. We think they are unworthy of our love. Human interactions often don't run smoothly and conflicts happen. When they happen we demand fairness and justice. We believe that punishment for a crime committed is fair and just. To avoid personal retaliation taken into one's own hands, the state enacts laws to ensure, that the penalty is not arbitrary, making the punishment more severe than the crime warrants. Otherwise, personal retaliation in times of anger is often out of control.

Jesus gives his disciples a dignified approach in dealing with our enemies (if we happen to have any). He teaches us: first, to love them and second, to pray for them. Our prayers for them demonstrate our love is extended for those who hate or persecute us. This teaching goes beyond common human knowledge. Jesus calls us to love everyone, because everyone is worthy of his love. He died for everyone. His love is inclusive, unlike ours, which is exclusive.

First Jesus asked his disciples to overcome evil with good. Wickedness can't combat wickedness but love does. Love has the power to change another person's heart. The argument that superiority in weaponry is an effective method to control conflicts in the world is human logic. Yes, conflicts may subside. They are suppressed for the time being, but they are not solved. When conflicts are put into a sleeping mode, they will not die, but may rise again when the conditions are in their favour. Jesus is saying to us, love that comes from one's heart will solve all conflicts. The dictum 'an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth' is not the way of God; but rather forgiveness for an eye, and reconciliation for a tooth, is the sure way of everlasting peace and true joy. Forgiveness and reconciliation is hard, when the hurt is still raw and the pain is fresh, but we believe, God would never command us to do the impossible, and we don't do it alone without God's blessing.
Second, when a victim is abused by people who are in the position of power, gentleness and calmness on the part of the victim ease the tension. The enemies may walk away, and think about our calm behaviour. They may feel ashamed of their actions and may change. In order to love those who harm and shame us, we need the power of prayers. We don't know how our prayers would affect our enemies, but Jesus told us to pray for them (5:44). We believe, Jesus has his own way to change people's hearts. For us, our prayers help us to ease the anxiety in our hearts, and that opens the way for reconciliation and forgiveness. Forgiving others who wrong us is a condition of receiving God's forgiveness as the Lord's prayer stated. Loving, praying for, and forgiving one's enemy makes God's love true and real for others. God loves everyone, and we should learn from God to do the same. By loving our enemies, we let the world know that our reasoning is God's way. God calls us to be different. For example, we respond to anger, not with retaliation, but in reconciliation; we don't respond to hatred with violence, but with love and prayers. Those who are in power feel that this new teaching does not make sense to them; especially those with the power to provide employment for the victims. God's kingdom is for everyone. God's love is displayed on the cross; God's power is demonstrated at the empty tomb.