Jesus said it’s not good enough to love your neighbors and hate your enemies. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Who were the people standing before Jesus when he spoke these words? Were they all criminals? Were they godless pagans? Were they materialistic atheists? No, these were good Jewish people who believed in the one true God. They believed in and lived the Ten Commandments. They knew the words of the prophets, the psalms, and the other scriptures read to them in the synagogues.
Yet they still had a great need for conversion. They had to convert from an earlier stage of revelation to a new one. They had to go from an Old Testament view of the world to a New Testament world view. They had to go from talking about the Kingdom of God to living the Kingdom of God.
The same is true for us. Lent is about conversion. Lent is a time for conversion from a spiritual life based only on Old Testament morality to a life based upon the teachings of the Gospel. And thus we have to also love our enemies and pray for them. Jesus is not calling us to be perfect, but he is calling us to a more perfect outlook of our world. When we stop seeing certain people as problems, we can begin to truly love them !
St. Joseph, pray for us !
DeColores, Deacon Doug