1st week in Lent, Saturday – 7th March 2020 – Matthew 5, 43-48
Love of a choice
Jesus raises the commandments to a higher level by exhorting his disciples to love their enemies, instead of loving their own family members and friends. The love (Gk agape) of which Jesus is speaking is not the spontaneous feeling that we associate with a spouse or family; it is not passionate desire (eros); nor is it the affection experienced between friends (philia). It is rather a love of choice, a commitment to value a person. We had come to know about the value of the other person through God’s self-revelation in Jesus. Therefore, Love refers to the decision, based on this recognition to pray for them (5,44), to do good to them (5,45) and to greet them in peace (5,47; compare 5,9), however badly they might treat us. Disciples are asked to be like Jesus in giving themselves for others (Gal 5,13). The kind of love of which Jesus is speaking here concerns not feeling but decision: faithful commitment to the good of another. This love is from Christ; when we do like him, it is participation in his loving.