Friends, once again our Gospel is taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It speaks of loving our enemies. To test this teaching, I want you to hold an enemy in your mind. First, a more general or global enemy, like say, the September 11th hijackers or Hitler or ruthless dictators today. Then, think of a more personal enemy, someone you just don’t like, someone who annoys you to no end, someone you would like to harm if you could.
And then hear Jesus’ words that you must love precisely these people. Hard isn’t it? Seem next to impossible, doesn’t it? Let me share with you a perspective on this hard saying of Jesus.
We love our enemies, first, because this is the best way to test the quality of our love. Love, as I’ve said a million times, is not primarily an emotion, but an act of the will. It is willing the good of the other as other. As such, the best test of real love is enemy love, since we know this is someone who is highly unlikely to love us in return.