You prepare a table before me in the presence of
my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs
over. (Ps 23:5)
emotions influence what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat. Negative
feelings can interfere with our enjoyment of food. And eating in the presence of
our enemies would upset our appetite. So why does the psalmist write: “You
prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”? Because it signifies how
we are able to have peace and victory over our enemies through faith and love.
journey of faith, one of the hardest lessons is to learn how to forgive our
enemies and be released from our own bitter feelings. If we can love our
enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for
those who spitefully use us and persecute us, then we will be perfect (cf. Mt
Jesus sets the example for us. Having loved His own to the end, He washed His
disciples’ feet at the last supper, even the feet of His betrayer, Judas.
our enemies and being released from our inner struggles to not harbor
resentment and bitterness can be as hard as moving a mountain. But faith can
bring us victory, for it is the promise of Lord Jesus: “If you have faith and
do not doubt…if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the
sea,’ it will be done” (Mt 21:21).
process of being released from all negative feelings, in particular bitterness,
could be slow and tearful. But those who have faith in God and love for even
enemies will discover overflowing blessings as described in Psalm 84:6 (NIV): “As
they pass through the Valley of Baka (or Valley of
Weeping), they make it a place of springs.”
receive strength and a wellspring of comfort in this difficult endeavor. The
expression, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”,
signifies having perfect peace even in the midst of our enemies.
Questions for Reflection
is your enemy? Have you held grudges and stepped into darkness without knowing
it (cf. 1 Jn 2:9)?
reflecting on the foot washing sacrament help relieve your grievances?