Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5, 43-48
Today’s Gospel read cuts right to the chase. Jesus doesn’t give a way out or alternatives. He is very specific, perhaps painfully so: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” As I write this reflection I am preparing my heart and home for another deployment, another extended period of time when my children will not be tucked in by their father, when we will have an empty place at our table, when I will pray every night that if one of my children needs me during the night, the others will sleep soundly so I don’t have to choose who to comfort first.
Love my enemies? Pray for those who persecute me? This Gospel reading challenges me to stop and think critically about my present situation. I have a husband who is going to war. Every day, there is a clear and distinct enemy who does not have his best interests at heart or those of other warriors like him. How do I pray for these people? How do I love someone when they wish the opposite for me, my husband, and other soldiers and warriors? How do I wish for their good, when they so clearly do not wish for mine?
I have come to realize that it’s not about them.
It’s about me. It’s about how far I’m willing to trust God. God is not asking me to reconcile the nations, He is asking me to reconcile my heart. God created all of His creation good and He asks that each of us see it in that light. Regardless of who these people are, where they live, what they believe, they were made in the image and likeness of God. Before they are anything else, they are God’s children, they are my brother and my sister.
Who is your enemy? Why do you see them as an enemy? How can you incorporate them into your prayer life in a positive, meaningful way?
Dear heavenly Father, please be with all of those at war this day. Regardless of which side they stand for, I ask you to look kindly upon them and bring them home safely to their families. Inspire in their leaders’ hearts the ways of peace, justice and dignity for all men and women of the world.
Copyright 2016 Kate Taliaferro
Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife, mom of 3 under 4. She enjoys homeschooling her two oldest while chasing her early-walking, food-scattering-loving baby. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God’s presence in all parts of her day, be it cooking, cleaning or just the everyday ordinary. Follow her blog, Daily Graces to join her crazy, adventurous, God-filled family.