This weekend is the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time; the Gospel Reading is Matthew 5:38-48. The ancient peoples thought it normal to love one’s friends and hate one’s enemies. But Jesus challenged that thought and taught people to love their enemies, even Gentiles, and pray for them. To the Jews of His day, this would have been very difficult to accept, since the Romans were persecuting Israel and imposing heavy taxes. But just as the sun shines on both the good and the evil, Jesus wanted us to be like God and bless both the good and the evil. Earlier, He demanded that His disciples’ righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees, whose virtue often consisted of separating themselves from unclean things and people, such as corpses, lepers, and unclean foods. Jesus wanted our virtue to come from within and us to love all people, and not let our passions or anger polute our vows. We even need to hope that our enemies receive the very best and the most important way is through prayer, through which we rely on God’s grace and listen to Him.