Monday, June 16, 2014

We Are Children of Our God

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

“Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD’s sight, I am bringing evil upon you … because you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin.”  (1 Kings 21: 20-21, 22)

(Jesus said) But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)

Jesus, Prince of Peace,
you have asked us to love our enemies
and pray for those who persecute us.
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit,
may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
To you be glory and honor for ever and ever.
        ( )

At some point in my life I realized how awful it must be to be in the body, mind and heart of someone who feels the need to bully, to pull power trips, to hurt others intentionally, to choose to “do evil in the Lord’s sight”.  It took this personal insight to help me begin to pray for those who persecute me.   Before it I preferred to simply judge, dismiss, look for payback.  And in Ahab’s case his evil is even compounded because he lets his wife do his dirty work while he sulks. 

But that insight led me also to acknowledge those parts of me that step on others, pull power trips, hurt out of my sense of pique, choose evil based on my sanctimonious sense of myself.  No I can’t see that I would ever kill over the ownership of property but I can envision myself killing to defend someone I care about.  It’s a slippery slope.

Jesus’ image of God placing the life-giving sun in transit above the good and the bad both humbles me and frees me.  God loves me just as much as God loves the bad person.  God loves the bad person just as much as God loves me.  It’s freeing to accept that God loves as God wills.  And God protects as God loves even as tragedy and evil befall me. 

Bring to mind someone who has hurt you deeply, personally.  In your imagination, stand with that person in the presence of Jesus.  Pray for her/him.  Ask Jesus to help you love more fully and to know in your bones that God loves you and every one of His children.

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