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The prologue to St. John’s gospel introduces God’s Son as the Word. This life-giving Word—spoken down through the ages—became flesh and lived in our midst. For all of Christian history, the Word is intimately connected with all of human life. It is the purpose of TWIL (“The Word Is Life”) to bring the gospel to life and to bring life to the gospel. This blog will feature reflections on the Sunday Scriptures from contemporary Catholic writers, words of wisdom for our Spiritual journey from saints and blessed, and thoughtful reflections on masterpieces of sacred art. We at Living with Christ hope that they will help you grow in your spiritual life and deepen your relationship with the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s gospel calls us to forgive our enemies. As a person passionate about social justice, I hear this Scripture calling me to also consider empathy and dialogue. Can we identify the humanity and the inherent dignity in those who do wrong to us or to others? Can we love them in a way that also works toward addressing these injustices?

To live and love this way can be difficult. It may be easier to see those who hurt ourselves or others as selfish or as intentionally harmful. Yet, that outlook fosters alienation and isolation instead of community and connection. The gospel recognizes the challenge present here, but encourages us to persist: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”

In this gospel, Jesus offers guidance that seems counterintuitive. In the same way, finding common ground with those who oppress others may also be counterintuitive, especially when we are tempted to be angry instead of loving. However, empathy enables us to engage in dialogue, change, and social justice. We can see examples of this in peace processes in our country and around the world. When we come to a place of understanding, it may also be a place of peace.

Landon Turlock

Author: Living with Christ

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