Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
What if your enemies live in your neighborhood?
This school year I decided to have my children ride the bus again though I knew the middle school bus is plagued with behavioral issues. Older boys throw food and ditch their friends’ backpacks or shoes out of the windows as the bus pulls through our neighborhood to drop off students. They stand up in the back rows and yell. I hoped this year would be different. I hoped those boys had moved on to high school, and I hoped there would be a different bus driver who could better handle any bad behavior.
But it was the same driver, the same bad behavior, and many of the same boys, and the chaos began at the bus stop. I started driving my kids to school in the morning because of these teens who made the bus ride vexatious for other neighborhood kids. Parents should expect a calm, safe bus ride for their kids, and these teens were ruining it. The more I thought about those boys and the trouble they caused, the more I disliked them. I realized then that my current enemies were middle school boys. I was angry with them because their choices impacted my family. I remembered today’s Gospel verse, and I knew my attitude needed changing. Though I had a responsibility to report unsafe behavior, I couldn’t possibly know what these teens had experienced in their childhoods, how difficult their home environments might be, or what personal challenges they faced each day. I should be praying for them and their families instead of judging and being angry with them.
Now on the morning drive to school, my kids and I pray the Our Father, and we pray for the boys on the middle school bus and their families.
Do I recognize who my enemies are?
Lord, give me the grace to desire good for my enemies and to pray for them with sincerity and love as Jesus did.
Copyright 2022 Hillary Ibarra