Make no mistake about it. If we are truly Christian, if we want to be like Christ as we should, then we should continue to live charity even when confronted by evil or, worse, even when we suffer at the hands of evil in any of its forms.
Christ showed this to us in its purest form, live, during his passion and death. In spite of the worst injustice given on him, in spite of all the insults, mockeries, physical blows, crowning with thorns, and ultimately his crucifixion, while it’s true that he suffered so much that he at one point complained to the Father—“why have you forsaken me?”—in the end he offered forgiveness to everyone—“for they know not what they do.”
This is the charity that Christ commands us to live—“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.” (Jn 13,34) That is why, earlier he told his disciples to love even their enemies and to do good even to those who hate them, blessing those who curse them, and praying for those who mistreat them. (cfr. Lk 6,27-28)
That is why St. Paul, in his paean on charity, re-echoes the same sentiment when he said: “Love is patient, love is kind…it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Loves does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…” (1 Cor 13,4-6)
We have to learn to have this charity which can only take place if we are truly eager not only to follow Christ but rather to be like Christ himself. We have to remember that with our human powers alone, there is no way we can live this kind of charity.
This charity is supernatural. It is the effect of grace, of our vital identification with Christ who is all too eager to identify himself with us. We have to disabuse ourselves from the thought that we can live this kind of charity with our own ideas of what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, that is, with our own brand of justice.
Obviously, this supernatural and Christian charity does not neglect the requirements of justice, but it’s a justice that always goes together with mercy, with patience, with the willingness to bear the burdens of others in whatever forms those burdens can take.
I was watching the other day some videos of past local news reports about crimes—theft, robbery, snatching, etc. I obviously commiserated with the victims, but I also felt a different kind of commiseration with the culprits who, when arrested by the crowd, were truly treated very badly as if these men had no more right to live.
It was all clear that what were done were wrong, but that fact does not entitle anyone, if he is truly Christian, to inflict another wrong by going ballistic into revenge or making even. A wrong is never corrected with another wrong.
This is a point that we need to make clear, especially now when we are celebrating the 500 Years of Christianity in our country. We need to live this point about charity if we want to show that after 500 years of Christianity, we truly have grown significantly in our Christian life by living the charity shown, taught and commanded to us by Christ himself!*