"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?"
I recently viewed a true story video clip about a WWII soldier of the 404th Fighter Group who, together with his fellow soldiers, was constructing an airstrip along the Normandy countryside as German snipers shot several of the men. The snipers were soon captured or killed, but one remained. As the Fighter Group rested, Capt. Jack Tueller took his trumpet and began to play, but his commander told him not to as it might put them in harm's way as the one sniper was still out in the dark. But Capt. Tueller thought that the German sniper must be lonely and just as scared as he was, so he began to play a German love song, "Lili Marleen."
The lone sniper that night did NOT fire.
The following morning, an MP came to Tueller and mentioned a German who was just captured as a prisoner was asking, 'who played that trumpet during the night?' Tueller immediately ran to meet the prisoner, a 19-year-old scared German boy who, with tears in his eyes, said he could not fire because he thought of his family and his girlfriend. He offered to shake hands, which they did, and Tueller said, "I shook the hands of the enemy, but he was no enemy because music had soothed the savage beast."
Though Capt. Tueller credits his trumpet for making friends of an enemy; we can see the lesson that Jesus teaches us in today's Gospel. "Love your enemies, do good to those who do you wrong, walk the extra mile..." On top of this, He gives us the GPS to follow: Himself.
As our Alleluia verse for today's Mass reminds us: Whoever keeps the Word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him (and her). Jn. 2:5
Therefore, go, be holy because the Lord your God is holy!
Sister Celeste Hupert, CSFN