One of the most infamous events of the 20th century is the little known Armenian genocide. In the first decade of this century, more than two and a half million Armenians were slaughtered at the hands of the Turks. The hatred generated by that barbarism continues to poison even the generations of today. And yet, like all tragedies of the human spirit, it too had its moments of transforming grace and beauty.
In one such moment we learn of an Armenian nurse who was captured by the Turks along with her brother. Her brother was executed by a Turkish soldier before her eyes. She, however, somehow managed to escape and later became a nurse in a military hospital.
One day she was stunned to find that the same man who had killed her brother had himself been captured and brought wounded to the hospital where she worked. Something within her cried out, "Avenge your brother." But an even stronger voice called for her to love. She listened to that voice and nursed the man back to health.
When the recuperating soldier finally realized who she was, he asked her, "Why didn't you let me die, or better yet, why did you not kill me?" Her answer was, "I am a follower of Him who said, 'Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.' (Luke 6:27)." The young soldier replied, "I never heard such words before. Tell me more, because I want this religion for myself."
In this same way, dearly beloved, we are called to live in faith and obedience, and in so doing, to not only acquire the strength to love our enemies, but to win people for Christ through our example.