The Gospel proclamation today presents us with a difficult challenge: to respond with love when we are hurt and taken advantage of. In these times, we are often encouraged to assert our rights and seek justice. However, Jesus is not only demanding a positive, loving and visible response from us but a response that is welling from deep within us. We will not be able to respond in the way our Lord responded to his cruel executioners if we lack the wisdom, guidance and grace of the Spirit. Our responses will be worldly and the mental struggle of responding with love will take a toll on us. St. Anthony of Padua himself had to face years of silence and a small role in his community till the moment when he was forced to preach due to the absence of a speaker. The Lord made a way for him to embark on a life of preaching but not without preparing him in solitude and with prayer. Oppos- ing evil with love is the way of life God is calling us to, because it transforms the person giving it and the receiver who is impacted by that love.
Prayer: Abba Father, you are our refuge and strength in moments when we have to give love in the face of hatred. Amen.