“Love your enemies.”
Love your neighbour as yourself.” These are words we associate so clearly with the teaching of Jesus and the way of life the Gospel calls us to. But it may be a surprise to some people to hear that these words come first from the Old Testament, in the mouth of Moses himself. Moses was speaking the Lord God’s instruction for the community – the community of the people of Israel in flight from Egypt in their long sojourn in the wilderness. God’s instructions were about how that community had to work without grudges, resentment or vengeance, but with love and forgiveness and tolerance. When Jesus comes with the message of the Kingdom of heaven, it is the same – instruction for a perfect, God-guided society, which depends on how each of us lives with others. The wisdom of this world, which Saint Paul mentions in the Second Reading, will not teach us this: the world will believe in vengeance and friendship only for your friends. Each of us must ask how we can embrace the apparent folly of Jesus teaching: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.