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Love Enemies and Pray for Persecutors - Family Reflection Video

Love Enemies and Pray for Persecutors - Family Reflection Video

Why pray?  |  Strengthening family unity


If you read yesterday's Family Rosary blog, you might have thought you'd heard the most challenging direction from Jesus, and today would be one of those easy Gospel readings. That is until today when we heard Jesus say, "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…" The natural question then is, how can we love those who wish us harm?" And, "Why would we ever want to pray for those who persecute us?" "I save that for kind people, people who are decent." 


 We're definitely not getting an easy one today! We know that we are to stand up for the teachings of Jesus, even when unpopular, and to defend those who need our help, especially the most vulnerable, the unborn, the ill, the elderly, and all those in great need. And, at the same time, love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. 


Tough Teachings from Jesus

This teaching from Jesus is a tough one, for if we consider someone an enemy, it's because they oppose us, our way of life, and perhaps those we love. And, if someone or some people are persecuting us, they're taking action against us, whether in word, deed, or both. And, as Fr. Boby said, because of original sin, we want to fight fire with fire, and anything less could be considered a weakness or not standing up for ourselves or loved ones.  
Let's start with praying for our persecutors. The role model for that is Jesus. Who said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus didn't mean they didn't know they were torturing Him and about to kill Him. They were well aware of that; however, they didn't know who they were doing it to and what they were giving up in pursuing their selfish desires.  
When we pray for someone persecuting us or others, we want them to convert their hearts and minds. We want them to do good.  Perhaps on an easier level, praying for someone who is just tough to be around happens because we care about them. We recognize that they are in need of God's grace to heal whatever is hurt or missing in their lives. And the only way we can do this is with the grace of God allowing us to love them and feel compassion for them, which leads us to want them to find the way to true peace and love for themselves and others.  

Humility and Faith

In case, we are ready to seek the easy way out. Jesus asks us, "If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?" So, tax collectors were not esteemed by their community, and no one would look to them as the standard; Jesus knows and frames the statement—just like we could draw parallels to our time with people who were not known to be Mother Teresa-like!  
God knows the challenges to our doing this, but He wants us to be like Him; for this is how He made us to be. God wants every one of us to make progress (from wherever we are right now). To move from being selfish, vengeful, and, at times, fearful to loving, merciful, and courageous. But in order for us to do this, we need to listen to what Jesus expects from us—this takes both humility and faith. We must believe that we need to be taught, led, and strengthened by God and trust He will give us what we need to follow Him.   


Love Our Enemies

Over these past days in the Mass Readings, we've heard from Jesus in Matthew's Gospel how we are to live the Beatitudes, including "blessed are the peacemakers." May we seek peace in and outside our families by loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us—perhaps for the first time today at this Mass? 
Jesus, help us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us so that we might be "perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect" in loving us. May God bless you and your families! 

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About Father David Marcham

Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!