Jesus reflects early in this Gospel that we’ve learned to love but that we’ve also learned to hate. He challenges us in this Gospel to love ALL people because that is what overcomes hate. We need to love all people not just our own – hence the reference to God’s sun shining on the good and the bad, and God’s rain falling on the honest and dishonest.
Jesus is teaching that, as hard as it may be, our love must be for all people. Jesus practiced what he preached – think of him on the cross when he says, ‘Father forgive them they know not what they do’.
It is worth reflecting that if the early church had loved no more than its own little group, would we have even heard of Christianity. Would we have even heard of Jesus Christ?
Again, Jesus is challenging us to love – if we love all those we meet then we are practising what Jesus taught us.