Father Joseph Illo gave an 11-minute homily on Sunday, February 20 at Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco.
The subject was that it is impossible for us to love our enemies. “But we can do the impossible if we call upon the grace of God.”
“By His grace Father Maximilian Kolbe starved to death for a perfect stranger in a Nazi death camp in 1941…. By the grace of the Almighty, St. Agnes faced down the entire might of the Roman Empire at 12 years old…”
“I want to tell you a story of a person in the seminary. This was 35 years ago. Anthony was tall athletic fellow whose assigned seat in the chapel was right next to mine. He was everything I wasn’t. He was popular and athletic, and he knew how to work the system. He was a great basketball player. I can’t make a basket if my life depended on it.
“Anthony liked to wear bright sweaters over his black clerical shirts. He was fashionable. The rector of the seminary said, ‘listen, guys, you’re wearing black shirts because they’re black, so don’t put pink, green, and pastel sweaters over your black shirts. Just wear black. We’re trying to be humble and simple to prepare for the priesthood.’ Anthony would regularly come into the chapel with bright yellow, canary, red ones, teal. And it would drive me nuts.
“‘Anthony, did you not hear what the rector told yesterday about wearing bright sweaters.’ And he just smiled. And so one day he came in with a yellow sweater and sat net to me, smirked. And I said, ‘I hate this guy.’ Then I said a quick prayer, ‘Lord, help me to love Anthony.’ And suddenly I was flooded with grace.”
“The person you sleep with, if you’re married, is often the enemy. I have to marvel how spouses can sleep together when they are very angry at each other. I don’t know how it happens, but it does. They tell me it happens.”
Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners, nd get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give, and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Love: To will good to someone. Also to please someone, either by sharing with that person what one possesses or by doing what someone wants. Basically there are two kinds of love. The love of concupiscence, or self-interested love, means that another is loved for one’s own sake as something useful or pleasant to the one who loves. The love of friendship means selfless love of another for that person’s own sake, for his or her good, to please him or her; it is the love of benevolence.
From Catholic Dictionary