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Let us for a moment today consider the destructive effects of hate on the human soul. Find someone who is consumed by hatred and then see the results. It may be bad for the person who is the object of that hatred but it is infinitely worse for the one who does the hating. Hatred is to the soul what cancer is to the body. Untreated and unchecked it utterly consumes and destroys.
That is not theory; that is fact. One person hates another so intensely, that he cannot hear his name without a flush of anger. His hatred so dominates his or her mind that he or she begins to resent anyone who does not share it even to the point of wanting to behead that person. Thus, one by one, he or she loses friends; and his or her own life and world become smaller and smaller.
Jesus understood that centuries ago. So He said to His followers, “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” His profound insight into human nature is not a dream. It is a solid fact that we can never fully appreciate until we look at it with our eyes and hearts wide open.
Jesus saw God as His Father and all people – all of us- as His brothers and sisters. And of course, many have seen and still see that idea as nothing but a beautiful and hopelessly idealistic dream.
But what if Jesus is right? Could it then be that we humans refuse to face this truth? I once read a story about a novelist who had died. After his death they found in his file the idea for a book he intended to write but never did. It was about a badly divided family that inherited a large and wealthy estate which included a large house. And one condition in the will was that they must learn to live together in that house.
I think it would be difficult to describe the present dilemma of the human race in more accurate terms than that. We have inherited this earth as a bequest from God and our ancestors who have gone before us. It is like a large house with many rooms. There was a day when a few of us could live in our room, and a few in another, and maybe not bother with each other very much.
But those days are long since gone. Now each door and every hallway are open. Each part of the house is interconnected. The things that happen in one room effect the people in all the other rooms. Science, technology, mass-communications, and the speed of travel have confronted us with our family relationships in ways that we cannot ignore. Now, we too must learn to live together in this house – this world – that God has given us.
Jesus understood centuries ago, and many of us have not understood it yet. So when will we awaken from our sleep to see Him and hear Him with our eyes and ears wide open? He is still trying to teach us this truth.
If we are going to live together in this house, all of us are going to have to be changed a little, and some of us are going to have to be changed a lot. Most of the problems of our world, if we trace them back far enough, are found to be rooted in the distortion of human nature. Therefore the very redemption of the world must begin with the renewal of our individual lives and with the restoring our relationships with one another. Advent is near! What better time to begin!
Father Robert F. Grippo