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The Good News for the day, June 19, 2018 Tuesday in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time (366) Jesus says to people inspired by Him: “You have grown up hearing people tell you: “Love your friends, hate your enemies.” I’m telling you, instead: “Love people who don’t like you; pray for anyone who causes you problems—so that you become children of your Father in the other realm—the One Who makes the sun shine on good and bad alike—Who rains on guiltless and guilty the same. If you love just people who like you, what good is it? Tax collectors who cheat do that. If you talk just with people you like, are you doing anything special? Doesn’t everyone else do that? Do things right—the way your Father in the other realm does them. (Matthew 5) The whole point here is that how and who you love comes off as different from other people. You love, like, care for, engage with, be patient with, enjoy and respect—people you may not like. For a follower of Jesus—love turns out to be one-sided. You care for others, whether they like you or not. You serve others—without pay. Other people expect reciprocal love, mutual benefits. That is not how Jesus does it. A man may be an officer in an occupying army. Another man may be a leper. A woman may be a known prostitute. Someone may be a public –notorious—sinner. Another person may be low-class—to be disdained, the way Samaritans and Canaanites were. To Jesus it makes no difference—each person is worthy of love—a Child of God. Jesus is telling you to behave in a way that will inevitably bring scorn, disdain and attacks because you befriend angry, hostile, negative and “stupid” people. The standard behavior is “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” People re-born to the realm of what is right—just scratch another person’s back—and lets it go at that. Most bibles translate the final line as “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” This mechanically accurate translation misses how the line sums up this whole section of the Sermon on the Mount. God does not call people to be “perfect” so much as to be “distinctive”—to behave with the same spirit as God, and not with a selfish spirit. The idea is to practice spirit—freedom from greed, patience, gentleness, respectful love above and beyond “law,” truthfulness, love that expects nothing back. These attitudes—this spirit—brings peace. The original word implies that you are to achieve—or reach—a fulfilled peace, the way the Father exercises a calm, fair peace throughout creation. You are to be distinctively at peace—perfection (in a way)—that results. Jesus does not want to try to be perfect, but to have a distinctive spiritual attitude that pervades you so that you become distinctively and instinctively different from people around you