We cannot help but think from time to time of the people who make life difficult for us. Deep within our hearts, we want to do something about these people we call “enemies.”  But often, we would want to see our enemies weakened, destroyed or eliminated.  This is the reason for so much violence among peoples and nations, tribes and communities.  This accounts also for the serious pain inflicted in the hearts of many individuals and many families.

Today, we take a glimpse of God’s attitude towards enemies, the people who declare themselves enemies of God’s love and God’s people. First, we see the attitude of forebearing patience.  When the workers wanted to uproot the weeds that grew alongside the wheat, the landowner says: let them grow until the harvest.  Give them time.  Let them grow like the rest.

Then we see the second attitude – forgiveness.  The Book of Wisdom says that God gives us hope precisely through the fact that he permits us time for the repentance of sins. For God, the Father Jesus introduces to us, there is no hopeless situation.  There is no hopeless human being.  In the goodness of God’s heart, he continues to believe in the goodness of human beings, yes, even those we ourselves consider as wicked.

Let us return to our attitudes towards people we do not like, the people we avoid, the people who have really hurt us and given us pains and burdens we still carry today.  Don’t we wish they were dead?  Don’t we pray that they may experience failures and ill luck in their lives?  Many times, we relish the thought of getting back at them so that they too, can have a taste of the pain of being victimized and brutalized.

In the seminary there was a bully too.  We were victims of his arrogance and many times, we are powerless to confront him because he was our senior.  One day, there was a healing mass in the chapel.  Seminarians were falling to the floor after the healing priest laid his hands on them.  I looked to my right and saw the bully fall.  I smiled and whispered to the one standing to my left: he is sure to fall down because he is a sinner!  When the priest approached me, his hands have not even touched my head and I started melting and fell down like the bully!  God reminded me that I was no better than that bully.

Yes, in life we have to contend with the presence of difficult people, envious, greedy, deceitful people.  Our enemies will always be here.  They will always be a burden to us, a pain in the neck. But Jesus is telling us in the gospel that we must not allow ourselves to be defeated by our enemies.  We must defeat them instead – not with violence and evil – but with the power of the Gospel.

Do you want to be free from your enemies?  Do you want to rise above their petty and vicious tactics in your life? Then listen to the Lord for he is offering a solution.  The solution is a change in attitudes.  Like Jesus, let us too embrace the attitudes of patience and forgiveness.  Justice rests in the hands of God and will surely come at the time appointed by God.

Today if we want to be free, we must be ready to imitate the heart of God. Be patient and forgive.  Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide and support us.