June 16, 2015

Gospel MT 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
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,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
“But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you.”
Sadly, we persecute ourselves by holding onto resentment and anger toward another person.
We get a certain amount of perverse pleasure from nursing a grudge.
But, “A grudge is a heavy burden to carry.”
God wants us to live with peace of heart and mind.
However, it is impossible for us to be at peace if our heart is filled with resentment and anger.
In today’s gospel, Jesus gives us the formula for being able to forgive, how to “lay our burden down.”
He tells us to pray for those who have offended us.
It can be very difficult to hold a resentment against someone and at the same time pray for that person.
I’ve had people tell me, “I just can’t bring myself to pray for that person after what they did to me.”
Once, when I said the same thing to my friend Father Tom, he replied, “Well then Jim, I guess you’ll just have to keep “sitting on the blisters.”
Sitting on the blisters, i.e., living with the misery that accompanies my holding on to resentments that rob me of my peace of heart and mind.
By holding onto my resentments, I end up beating myself with a stick of my own making.
I have learned that the road to peace is to give the “burden” to God, and pray that those who I resent may have the peace of heart and mind that I crave for myself.

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you” Psalm 55:22