We know from experience that some people are more likeable than others.  Some are easily friendly and accommodating, creating a pleasant feeling right from the start. We are of the same “vibes,” we say.  But there are others who radiate a different aura, who seem distant and unpleasant, whose presence we judge suspicious even before we fully know them.
When we are with these people, we tend to treat them as our enemies. We declare war against them, whether it is the subtle, silent treatment or an all out revulsion that manifest in our actions.
In the gospel, we see Jesus and the disciples travelling and passing through Samaria (Lk. 9:51ff).  The people there were not welcoming.  They rejected the Lord and his men.  By impulse, the brothers James and John declared war on the inhabitants.  They wanted to “call down fire from heaven to consume them.”
Isn’t that exactly how we think about the people we consider as enemies?  How we want to destroy them, to crush them, to humiliate them, to erase their every trace from the face of the earth?
But here we see another facet of Jesus’ character. He rebuked his own disciples. He saw no profit in focusing on negative reactions and emotions.  Instead, he continued to welcome those who wanted to join his group, simply inviting them to “Come, follow me.” There is more to be gained in following the steps of the Lord than wasting time destroying each other.
The second reading echoes this attitude of Jesus as Paul reminds the Galatians why they were set free by Christ.  To be free means to be free from the pursuit of the leanings of the flesh – anger, revenge, hatred, war – but to take the opportunity to pursue spiritual growth and maturity. You are truly a free person if “ you love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is living “by the Spirit” and not anymore by the flesh.
We need to hear again these words of Jesus, his rebuke of our declarations of war against each other and his simple invitation to follow him.  So many times we seek the shortcut out of conflict.  We silence others by the violence of our word, thought or action.  We plan to eradicate others who seem to block our path. 
But Jesus calls us to walk another path, his path.  That is why he continually says to us: Come, follow me! If we seriously focus on his footsteps, then we will realize how blessed we are as we imitate the one whose way of living was that of pure service and true love, forgiveness and understanding. 
In following Jesus authentically, we truly “destroy” the enemies that surround us. For by then, they cease to be adversaries, but we see them anew as they really are – brothers and sisters in the one Lord and God. Let’s stop hurting one another. Dwell not on your enemies. Rather, dwell on following the Lord!