Love of enemy and the stranger are ancient and paramount requirements if one intends to truly live out the Gospel. Lacking such love of our fellow human beings is a grave sin in our Christian tradition. Christ never rejected any person because of their race, ethnicity or tribe. Never. Sadly, we now live in a modern society in which this group is divided and unwelcoming, even hateful and prejudiced toward another person solely because of his or her race, ethnicity, tribe or background. WHY? I do NOT understand!
Every person is HUMAN IN NATURE!!! No person’s intelligence is determined by their skin color. There are talented, gifted and brilliant people in every group of people. There are foolish and even ignorant people in every group of people. Regardless, every person is still human and possesses an innate dignity, value and purpose here on earth. Your life is not mine, nor is mine yours. Still, I respect you as my fellow human being. I believe our Creator has a purpose, a role for you to play in the unfolding and building up of His Kingdom here at hand.
HOW can you, me or any so-called Catholic or Christian really claim we follow Christ when our heart, mind or spirit possesses a deep dislike, hatred or prejudice toward a stranger here in our midst, our community, our parish? HOW can Hatred contribute to building up God’s Kingdom, to living out the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ, or as an expression of the Holy Spirit’s compassion, mercy or justice? HOW does that make any sense?
Before you, maybe a family member, a person you grew up with, or another Catholic leaves this world, you, me, or others should be brutally frank and clear with our self and one another. If we hate our so called enemy or the stranger whose skin differs from ours, or their education level differs, or their wealth or class differs from us, well, if we hate them, then, you, me and all disciples of Christ MUST humbly plead, cry out to and beg our good and gracious and forgiving God to empty the very depths of our being from any hatred or prejudice! We must humbly and truthfully acknowledge this part of our self! Then may we truly seek our only hope for salvation and eternal life by begging our Lord for forgiveness and then, humbly and freely choosing to walk forward always in the company of Christ. Our dear Lord is our God of Love, Mercy and Justice…NOT HATRED! Be willing to imitate Christ. Always choose to love rather than hate. Your own salvation depends heavily on this. You may fool other people. You will NEVER fool God! The choices are yours! Salvation is never for those who HATE! What’s going to be your choice? Hatred or Love?
-Father Michael Briese