It’s a wide world out there, filled with people who are very different from us. There are a couple of ways of dealing with our differences, ranging from friendship on one end to war on the other. But what does Jesus call us to do? He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. And St. Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome wrote, “If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if thirsty, something to drink. By this, you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.”
But how does that work out in everyday life, especially in a world that seems more and more partisan and bifurcated?
- When you cannot agree with someone, acknowledge that they may have life-circumstances that brought them to their opinion or action. We don’t know how anyone’s past experiences have scarred them. React to them with gentleness, not anger.
- Don’t behave badly, even if others are. Listen to St. Paul, and offer them food and drink. Give them your kindness; it’s what they expect the least.
- Pray, pray, pray. We know that prayer is the foundation of the Church and of our life in it and in the world. Prayer changes things. We may never see what happens because of our prayers, what soul is brought to God, what terrible accident is averted; but we have faith that it makes a difference.
We can all make the world a better place to live while we wait for God’s Kingdom. Why not start today?