Love your enemy. We know this is what Jesus exhorts us to do, but this is such a difficult thing. Especially when we live in a society that seems to value revenge and vengeance. I remember back last November, President Obama made headlines, making a statement at a public school in Springfield, Ohio, tell Americans: "Voting is the best revenge!" I remember being shocked that the president of our country would tell people to go to the polls not to do the right, not with a desire to help others and to make our country a better place, but rather to go to the polls and to vote as a form of revenge against others. Where is the love in that notion?
As a priest, I hear so often that it is difficult to forgive and to reconcile a broken relationship. And I compare forgive or reconciling with our brother or sister to a slow progression of drops of water that gradually fill up a glass. Forgiveness is not usually like flicking on a light switch, something that turns on in an instant. Forgiveness and reconciliation are things that we have to pray for and work toward each day. It is a process that is usually not very easy.
But I must say, I humbly disagree with our president. Revenge is not the answer. And I don't think Jesus would agree with him either, certainly not in the light of today's Gospel.