From football matches to the Holy Gospel: the most difficult commandment is to love one's enemies

catechesis & pastoral -

FOOTBALL MATCHES FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL: THE HARDEST COMMANDMENT IS LOVE IS YOUR ENEMIES

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The enemies that we must love, They may be terrorists Isis, Masons, Mafia or false progressives. Just to name a few. An enemy that is a person but that unleashes violence, ideological and physical, against our being faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ.

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Author
Gabriele Giordano Scardocci, o.p.

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tefferugli of hooligans

In the Gospel of St. Matthew we find the famous warning that urges us to love our enemies:

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«… you have heard it said: You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; but I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and it sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans? And if you greet only your brothers, what do ye more? Do not even the Gentiles? Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect " [Mt 5, 43-48].

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Before becoming a monk I always had different hobby artistic and sporting nature. I have always loved football and I also practiced until they are entered the Order of Preachers. I remember an incident related to football, I was very surprised that. It happened during a match of Serie B.

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The fans of Ternana and Perugia, given the geographical proximity, ordinarily do not love. When their teams meet, the respective supporters they always generate accidents and scuffles and the police are needed to avoid the worst. During one of these matches, there were clashes. A Perugian fan found himself on the ground, ready to be lynched by opponents. But at that moment a girl from Terni arrived who hugged him and put a scarf from her team around his neck. In this way, saved the opponent from taking so many blows. The names of the protagonists of this story were never known. And yet, this episode, it led me to reflect on the theme of the love of enemies.

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Also the passage that I have chosen to meditate today on The island of Patmos come back to this topic: Love your enemies! For me, it represents the central core of Jesus' message on love. The request that the Lord expresses towards his listeners seems truly impossible. Indeed, Evangelical Greek expresses this love with ἀγάπαω [agapao], which becomes a typical verb of the love of Christianity. A love, i.e., which leads to giving one's whole self to the service of one's neighbor.

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In this passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew, the agape [love] it is carried to its maximum consequences. However, it is necessary to pay attention to the distinction that the New Testament places in relation to the term enemy. Indeed, there is the fearsome Enemy of which St. Paul speaks: the devil. There are various references that St. Paul makes to the Devil, one of these in one of the letters addressed to the disciple Timothy, precisely where it illustrates what the requirements of the bishop must be [cf. The Tm 3,6].

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It is impossible to pray and give oneself for the Devil. Jesus does not ask to give ourselves for him. The Devil from the moment of his creation made an eternal profession of disobedience to God and to all creation. Stupendous are the words of Faust by Marlowe, in which Mephistopheles, a devil, states:

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“I am the spirit that continually denies: I'm right; because what exists is worthy of being destroyed: and it would have been better if nothing ever came into existence. Now therefore all that you men say is sin, destruction, what you call bad in sum, is my special element ".

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The Devil deeply hates and continues to hate all of creation in the first place. And in the first place we, Religious. He hates us because he sees in our profession of obedience to God a direct opposition to him. The devil, which is the great divider, he continues and will continue to instigate his degenerate suggestions: relativism, and totalitarianism, modernism, false progressivism ... just to name a few. But, next to the Devil, there are other enemies: men. The Lord refers to these enemy-men when he asks us to love them. Thus, if you decide to love, it is necessary to love all humanity.

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The love that Christ asks of us, his Church, it is a universal love. It is therefore no coincidence that the Church of Christ is called the Catholic Church, that is: Universal. We recall incidentally that the term "catholic" derives from the Greek against all [kata olon], a neoplatonic category of the philosopher Plotinus which with it indicates "according to the whole". This definition was not of a spatial-geographical type but a qualitative one. Indeed, for the first great Fathers of the Church, to be or to become Catholic meant that "nothing is human".

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In the Catholic Christian dimension it is therefore necessary to love one's enemies and be above one of the fashions of the present time: the fashion of revenge. Or even another of the fashions that unfortunately has infected some Catholics who refer to other Catholics as enemies using these expressions as "we are waiting for them at the, we pray to God that they die soon "e “delicacies” similar …

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We are in the Catholic Church or in the Colosseum as gladiators? Perhaps this is the attitude that Jesus asked of us and continues to ask us to have? Therefore, the enemies we must love, they could be Isis guerrillas, Masons, Mafia or false progressives. Just to name a few. An enemy that is a person but that unleashes violence, ideological and physical, against our being faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ.

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How is it possible to love them? Just with a look under the form of eternity it is possible to fully grasp the teaching of Christ. Jesus tells us love your enemies and you will be children of God, and you will be perfect.

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In our incessant offering of prayer for them, we will try to convert them, to make us children of God for them. Children of God for those who hate us. Be perfect like our Father in Heaven, it implies showing God on one's face to the enemy, as the martyrs of today are doing. At the same time it means welcoming what God is allowing in the action of our enemy. Just think of the gory effects of the Passion. Centurions cause violence and death on Jesus. Jesus allows it and at the same time gives himself to them. The effect is the same redemption of those pagan Romans.

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If we really want to be then, with the grace of God, his consecrated, and one day future priests, we cannot exempt ourselves from the commandment of love for enemies. Really then we will be salt of the earth [cf. Mt 5, 13-16] every act of enmity will unfold in a single universal prayer to God who died on the cross for love.

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It is in our essence as Dominican friars, finally being a cross from which love flows. Otherwise, the cross prostration that we did on the day of our profession, it risks being only a theatrical action. A splendid stage act. We would have been perfect actors, which in Greek is equivalent to perfect hypocrites [the greek hypocrite, hypocrites, comes the word actor].

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It is up to each of us to choose whether we have professed from hypocrites or as true children of God e, as far as I'm concerned, from sons of San Domenico, consecrated for Christ in the various states of life.

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sweet Jesus, Jesus love! [cf. St. Caterina da Siena]

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Rome, 17 November 2018

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About Father Gabriele

Gabriele Giordano M. Scardocci Dell'Ordine dei Frati Predicatori Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )