CCC 443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah’s divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers’ question before the Sanhedrin, “Are you the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am.”1 Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as “the Son” who knows the Father, as distinct from the “servants” God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels.2 He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: ‘Our Father’”, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father”.3
CCC 1693 Christ Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father,4 and always lived in perfect communion with him. Likewise Christ’s disciples are invited to live in the sight of the Father “who sees in secret,”5 in order to become “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”6
CCC 1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.”7 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.8
The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”9
CCC 1933 This same duty extends to those who think or act differently from us. The teaching of Christ goes so far as to require the forgiveness of offenses. He extends the commandment of love, which is that of the New Law, to all enemies.10 Liberation in the spirit of the Gospel is incompatible with hatred of one’s enemy as a person, but not with hatred of the evil that he does as an enemy.
CCC 1968 The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law. The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure,11 where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues. The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.12
CCC 2013 “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.”13 All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”14
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that. .. doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.13
CCC 2054 Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the Spirit at work in their letter. He preached a “righteousness [which] exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees”16 as well as that of the Gentiles.17 He unfolded all the demands of the Commandments. “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill.’. .. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.”18
CCC 2262 In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, “You shall not kill,”19 and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies.20 He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.21
CCC 2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”22
CCC 2443 God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you received without pay, give without pay.”23 It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.24 When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.25
CCC 2828 “Give us”: The trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”26 He gives to all the living “their food in due season.”27 Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness.
CCC 2842 This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”28 It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.29 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.30
CCC 2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies,31 transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God’s compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.32
1 Lk 22:70; cf. Mt 26:64; Mk 14:61-62.
2 Cf. Mt 11:27; 21:34-38; 24:36.
3 Mt 5:48; 6:8-9; 7:21; Lk 11:13; Jn 20:17.
4 Cf. Jn 8:29.
5 Mt 6:6.
6 Mt 5:48.
7 Rom 5:10.
8 Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45.
9 1 Cor 13:4-7.
10 Cf. Mt 5:43-44.
11 Cf. Mt 15:18-19.
12 Cf. Mt 5:44,48.
13 LG 40 # 2.
14 Mt 5:48.
15 LG 40 # 2.
16 Mt 5:20.
17 Cf. Mt 5:46-47.
18 Mt 5:21-22.
19 Mt 5:21.
20 Cf. Mt 5:22-39; 5:44.
21 Cf. Mt 26:52.
22 Mt 5:44-45.
23 Mt 5:42; 10:8.
24 Cf. Mt 25:31-36.
25 Mt 11:5; cf. Lk 4:18.
26 Mt 5:45.
27 PS 104:27.
28 Mt 5:48; Lk 6:36; Jn 13:34.
29 Cf. Gal 5:25; Phil 2:1,5.
30 Eph 4:32.
31 Cf. Mt 5:43-44.
32 Cf. 2 Cor 5:18-21; John Paul II, DM 14.