2nd Sunday of Luke - Is this world too small for us?
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. (Luk 6:35)
We are faced everyday with this dilemma: shall we forgive or payback? There is a lot of press and media around the word vendetta. Movies about vengeful Sicilians and fierce Spaniards dueling for honor and retaliating hate against whole families, including innocent children . But very seldom we hear about somebody that was able to forgive somebody that did something bad against us.
When somebody does the slightest gesture against us, like honking the horn at a traffic light we immediately get into a fighting mode, without realizing that sometimes this wouldn't do anything good, on the contrary may get us into trouble. The Fathers of the Church call anger a short madness because we are very prone to loose control. Scientists today explain it by a rush of adrenaline that, uncontrolled, has the potential to lead us into dangerous situations.
Fighting evil with evil is something that doesn't always work. The Old Testament had the word en eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and this may seem today harsh, but in context, at those unruly times sometimes for a tooth you could have lost your life, so This the Law that came through Moses was as fair as possible for those times. Jesus Christ However comes with more than this He wants us not only not to fight back, but to turn the other chick and love our enemy.
Listen to this, love our enemy. This is impossible, how can we love somebody that is against us? But if we think twice we may see the godly reason behind it.
If you hit something hard, like a piece of wood, or concrete, you will definitely wound your hand and you will be angry against that piece of junk. But when you hit a sponge, you don't fill a thing , there is no opposing force that hurts you back. The sponge absorbs your striking energy and does not fight back, only takes back its original shape. The same things happens with somebody that does fight back, all our vengeful force is suddenly cut in half and we are starting to realize that maybe we should act differently. If we fight back our enemies with love their hate is diminished and sometimes they can be turn around.
But this is important not only from a practical reason, but by loving our enemies we recognize in Him the image of God, that is in all of us, even in the greatest sinner. When we look at an enemy with love we look at him the same way God does, we look at a brother that is lost, brother that has lost the inner reason, the Logos of things which is God. Do we help our lost brother by fighting back, by accentuating his negative traits, on the contrary. But showing love, altruistic love, love not for an interest but for the sake of it, this is the moment when we act as God would.
There are many moments and many people that did things to us or to people we care about. I know it hurts. It hurts badly sometimes. But we need to turn this pain around and transformed it into love, love that "has patience, is kind; love that is not envious, is not vain, is not puffed up; does not behave indecently, does not seek her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. Love that does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth, quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love that never fails. "(1Co 13:4-8)
You see, love has patience, does not expect people to change over night, Love covers other people mistakes does not spread them around, love is not selfish but love wants everybody to come to understanding of the truth.
In loving your neighbor, as Saint Ap. Paul says, all the law and the prophets are contained. It is that powerful. But again love is a very high step on the ladder of the virtues, and it is difficult to attain, even for the best among us, but we should always struggle to attain this perfection. We are called to perfection: "be perfect as your Father in Heavens is perfect" A spiritual father was saying once that if a monk, when tries to enter in the monastery does not want to be a saint, he has nothing to do there. We should aim high, we should aim straight into heaven and the Holy Spirit will carry us on His wings of love and forgiveness.
Let us therefore start with a first step: let us try not to hate our trespassers; this is a first and necessary step: forget the past and take the hate of your system. Love will come, in time, when our hearts full of the Holy Spirit will see the truth in each of us. Let us all try to act as a community of faith, but most of all as a community of love, compassion, understanding and care. We are not many Christian Orthodox, let us start here and get close to one another, let us forget the little things that divide us and concentrate on the ones that can unite us. Let us be one with Christ our God and our Lord and through Him with His beginless Father and the All Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages! Amin.