Dear Parish Family,
As we read the passage from the Gospel of Luke, we learn that Jesus has decided to journey to Jerusalem along with His disciples. Since they could not make the journey in one day, Jesus sent a few of His disciples ahead of Him to find and prepare a place to spend the night in a Samaritan town. The people of that town did not welcome them because Samaritans and Jews had cultural differences and prejudices toward each other. The disciples, in particular James and John, felt rejected and frustrated. Being led by their emotions they said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them”
Isn’t that a human reaction which we might have when we are frustrated? Isn’t that what we wish for those who have hurt us so badly? And yet, we are called to listen to Jesus, “love your enemies.” How can we love someone who shows up in a public place motivated by hatred and takes away innocent lives? The least we can do is to repudiate those terrible events. Loving one’s enemies, at least for me, means to pray for those who are blind by fanatic ideologies, that God may touch their hearts and a true conversion will take place. Loving one’s enemies mean to pray for those who are at risk of being used by unreasonable ideologies of hatred.
Prayer is an act of love. Praying is also a way to protect our minds and hearts from wrath because this is precisely what extremist ideologies want us to be filled with. So praying for our enemies is also a healing event for us. It is also important to know that prayer does not cancel out justice. Justice should take its course regarding these terrible shootings. However, it is not in our hands; it is in the hands of the proper authorities.
May God bless us.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.