LK 6: 27-38




Jesus’ words for us today starts with the challenge to love. As Christians, isn’t this what we really want to do? To continue the loving actions of Jesus in the world; to fill the world with love; to love until it hurts.


I am so proud of my cousins when they conceived a different kind of family reunion this past Christmas. Our usual party of eating, gift-giving, and games was preceded by a feast for a hundred poor children in the neighborhood. Love was in the air that day as we served food and drinks, gave away prizes, and distributed gift packs for the children who were so appreciative in having what must have been their first Christmas party since the pandemic began.


Children and the poor are easy to love. Besides, our charity to them comes once in a while. However the Lord Jesus is posing to us another set of persons to love. Hear this, he is commanding us to love our enemies, the ones who curse us, who hurt us, who borrow without paying, who judge and condemn us. All the wicked ones we can think of, we have to love!


If there is such a thing as tough love, the love that happens when we discipline others out of love, this one I believe is tougher love. We discipline our hearts instead; we control our tongue; we train ourselves to be selfless; we do our best to forgive; we look kindly on our enemies. The opposite to all these is precisely what human nature tells us to do. Shouldn’t we protect ourselves from aggressors, not allow ourselves to be fooled by evil people, cease contact with those who give us stress in life?


My first reaction to this gospel is to rebel, to question, to discount it. Lord, isn’t what you are asking too much? The Lord knows he is asking much from us. That is why this kind of “tougher love” was what he first exemplified, not in words, but in action. Jesus loved all the people around him. Yes, even the Pharisees and religious leaders who always tried to put him down. He loved prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. He sought out their company and enjoyed having his meal with them. He loved Judas no less than he loved the other eleven apostles. On the cross and after the Resurrection, he pronounced forgiveness and peace on his enemies.


Are there people in your life today you have difficulty loving? Is your heart bleeding after a betrayal of trust? Are there people who make your life and your family life unbearable? Simply put, do you have people you consider enemies? It is not easy and natural to love them. Turn to Jesus and beg for a heart like his, a “tougher love” that will melt your own heart, expand it a bit more, and bring it to freedom and victory in the sight of the Lord.