Love your enemies! Pray for your persecutors. Be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:44). Difficult words! It seems like Jesus is asking the impossible. But the point of the teachings of Jesus about retaliation and loving our enemies is to reveal the holiness of God. God is holy because He is pazzo d’ amore, crazy, madly in love with us. The power and wisdom of God is the Crucified Christ. The Cross is the ultimate serving, loving and caring. For the eyes of the world, the Cross is the formula for the losers. For the eyes of God, the Cross is the formula for true peace and joy. He makes the sun rise on the good and the bad and causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust (Mt 5:46). God’s love is inclusive. He does not discriminate because He treats the good and bad alike. We are all called to holiness.
What is the essence of holiness then? Holiness is to be set apart, consecrated, anointed to serve the plans and purpose of God. St. Paul said that we are temples of God and the Spirit of God dwells in that temple. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). We all belong to Christ and each member has personal responsibilities for the building up of the community. To be holy is to make God’s love prevail over sin because He has always the last word, not sin, evil or death. Holiness is divinization that is, to conform to God’s way of being.
Incarnation is God became like us so that we might become like Him. Human nature is lifted up to share in God’s own life. Jesus restores the life of God within us. Sacraments draw us to the life of God because the goal of man is union with Him here and now. Therefore, holiness is to love the way God loves. We are called to witness that love is stronger than death and His mercy and compassion are limitless and more powerful than anything in the world. Love your enemies is the ultimate test of love because it is to love someone who will not love us in return. It does not mean that I have warm, nice feelings towards them. It is Agape love, a decision and choice to work for the well being of others. It is not to hate them otherwise we reduce ourselves to their level and we become just the way they are. We are called to be sons and daughters of the Father. If we fight evil on its own terms, we will never win. It is to fight evil on God’s terms. To return good for evil. To be perfect is not without faults but to be undivided and singlehearted in our love. It is to put God above all else. We need the Holy Spirit, our Divine Helper who alone can recreate, transform and change our minds and hearts.