FROM THE PULPIT
In 1972 a two year old Chinese boy fell from a table and went into a coma. When he woke up after six days he was not able to talk or move. Like any parent, his mother, was terribly distressed. Yet her distress was multiplied by the fact that she could not afford to place him in a nursing home. Instead she has cared for her son herself, and her care has shown the unfathomable depth of a mother’s love. Because he is unable to move he is liable to get terrible bed-sores. So for the past thirty years his mother has done the unbelievable - she has carried her son on her back. As of May 2002 she was 65 years old and weighed 88 pounds.. Her son, now a grown man, weighed 180 pounds. On many occasions the mother has fallen and fractured bones while carrying her son. Yet she continues to carry him. When asked how she can do it her reply is simple: "he isn’t heavy, he's my son."
For Jesus the actions of disciples are modeled on the actions of God. Neither the evil that enemies do (vv.27-29) nor the good that friends do (vv.32-34) sets the standards for “children of the Most High.” Just as God is “kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” disciples are called to be kind, generous, and forgiving. These norms for disciples address both their material response to others (giving, lending), and their estimation of others (loving, forgiving). The closing line, “the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you,” finds its more familiar expression in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We find in the first reading of the first book of Samuel the principles of “love your enemies” and “do good to them” put into action. Saul, fearing David’s designs on the kingship, sets out to kill David. David would certainly have been justified to protect his life by taking the life of Saul. The Law of Retaliation (“an eye for an eye”), though designed to set a limit to damages which can be exacted for harm, also establishes the right to seek damages in kind, even “a life for a life.” And so when both Abishai and David acknowledge that the Lord God has indeed sanctioned the taking of Saul’s life. David’s restraint, however, is motivated by reverence for the “anointed of the Lord,” that is, one chose by God. As David explains in verses omitted from the reading, “it must be the LORD himself who will strike him, whether the time comes to him to die or he goes out and perishes in battle” David considers this restraint, for which he hopes to be rewarded, a measure of his “justice and faithfulness,” not an act of mercy. 
What is love? Is it an embrace? a hug? a kiss? the words from someone’s mouth when they say “I love you.”? When I looked up the word love in a dictionary I came across many meanings of love. The first definition said that it, “ is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” The second definition said that it is, “a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.”
Jesus puts a challenge to us in the Gospel this morning. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Then he says later on, “For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.” My brothers and sisters the things that I mentioned about love should to be brought to even the people that we can’t stand in our lives. That love should to be brought into the workplaces even to a co-worker or a boss that makes the work place a difficult place to work in, that love should to be brought to that relative who has hurt us badly by either their actions or their words. That love should be brought to that person that despises us and continues to try to hurt us.
Yes, my dear brothers and sisters it is so much easier to love those who return that same love to us but we let us think of Christ who was persecuted but loved even those who persecuted him as he showed it on the cross when the words from his mouth were, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they have done.” Our Lord Jesus Christ’s greatest commandment was “love one another as I have loved you.” Not “love one another in a way that you think that love should be shared.”
One time a confessor told me after I shared with him a particular difficulty that I was having with a particular person in my life at that time and the confessor told me these words that I will never forget, “you must love one another but not like one another.” My brothers and sisters we don’t have to go out to the movies and have a great dinner with those that we feel uncomfortable with but we must not want harm done to them, we want to treat them as a child of God, we want to pray for them and want the best for them and when we are around them to show that love and patience that we hear in the Gospel this morning.
St. Maximus the Confessor who lived in the region of Constantinople present day Istanbul was a monk and in one of his writings said that “The Lord himself reminds us: Whoever loves me will keep my commandments. And this is my commandment: that you love one another. So the man who does not love his neighbor does not obey God’s command. But one who does not obey his command cannot love God. A man is blessed if he can love all men equal. Moreover, if he truly loves God, he must love his neighbor absolutely. Such a man cannot hoard his wealth. Rather, like God himself, he generously gives from his own resources to each man according to his needs.”
It’s pretty rough when St. Maximus says, “one who does not obey his command cannot love God.” It’s rough but it’s true that we can’t completely love God who is all love until we completely follow him and that is obeying all of his commands.
Yes, my brothers and sisters it is very difficult to love those who have hurt us but we will never be able to go beyond that if we don’t take care of it and begin the healing process. When I was in my late teens, I attended a youth retreat, at that retreat God brought to light that I was still holding onto painful memories of someone who hurt me during my childhood but I thought I was over it but I wasn’t. I never really never let God’s healing hand take care of that wound in my life and I never forgave the person who hurt me but when I finally faced reality and the truth I let God heal that pain which led me not to hold onto that grudge against that person and to go as far to forgive the person and the mouth the words “I love you” which before that experience I thought I wouldn’t ever be able to do.
My brothers and sisters as I send out the command at the end of Mass to go out to love and serve the lord and one another let us truly be those lovers of God out in the world and let us remember the refrain from the Responsorial Psalm, “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
 Living Liturgy, pg. 61