In this week’s Gospel reading (see the bottom of the page), we continue with Luke’s version of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). I want to take a closer look, not so much at the text, but our perception of it. In our reading Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…” and the passage continues along those lines. The question I want to ask is: How do you see yourself in the passage?
If you’re anything like me, on first reading the passage you imagine yourself as the wronged party who has to find a difficult path to loving the kid who talks bad about me behind my back, blessing the the person who only has a rude word for me, and praying for that person who made me late for class or cut me off in traffic. But what if we turn the words around?
I think Jesus is speaking to us in metaphor and irony. Jesus is talking about how we are to treat those who mistreat us, but in doing so, I think he is asking us to think about the times we have wronged others. How would you feel knowing someone was blessing you for that awful thing you said? How would you feel knowing that you were being prayed for by the person whose day you made harder by being rude or even simply unthinking. Jesus, while calling us to treat our enemies better, is also calling us to remember that there are two sides to that relationship. If you have an enemy, you are also an enemy.
How might your week be different knowing that your least favorite person is praying for you? How would it be if you realized you were praying for each other?