February 20, 2022
Luke 6: 27-38
This gospel reading has a very relevant message for our day. In it, Jesus presents to humanity the image of the kind of world God desires for his children. It was a new and perhaps a shocking message to the people who were listening to Jesus at that time and to us today. Jesus came to make all things new, it was not going to be the same old order of a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye, the kind of life the people knew. From now, it is going to be:
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
As people who have chosen the path of faith as Christians, Jesus has given us his standard of living through this gospel. That we love, do good, bless, pray and be generous and to “expect nothing back” This gospel is a call to all Christians and the people of our today to cultivate merciful. Loving, kind and forgiving hearts unconditionally towards others just as Jesus and our good God are to all of us.
Imagine if each of us has to merit life from God by his or her actions, who would survive? We live only by the grace of God and God’s unconditional love and mercy:
“If you, LORD, keep account of sins,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness
and so you are revered.” (Psalm 130: 3-4).
Yet, those of us who enjoy God’s unreserved goodness are most times quick to resent, throttle, punish others even for their slightest mistakes. Our lives ought to remind us of God’s goodness and loving kindness to the whole of creation.
Within the texts of gospel passage, we find the golden rule for life, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This statement of Jesus invites us to be people of compassion and self-control. Our lives should not be based on reactions only, but to learn how to respond to life with truth in the situations we experience. Our egos cause us to react even when we do not intend to so. To grow in self- control, there is need to pay attention to why we do what we do, else, we could easily lose focus and drift away from the centre where God guides us through the Holy Spirit. Compassion comes from a place of deeper understanding of our true identity as children of God. This God-centred place is the place of the Holy Spirit who helps us put things in their real perspective in our relationships.
This gospel is a clarion call to the people of our world today who seemingly live with less compassion and sensitivity to how our actions and reactions cause pain to other people and mother earth. Nations are on a power race. Racing for political and economic dominance at the expense of love, peace, kindness and mercy for humankind. Is this hunger for power for our collective good? From the daily news, we see Russian War tanks arriving the Ukraine borders on daily basis despite all pleas. Why would stronger nations not let the less strong ones strive with equal dignity?
Our inability to listen to the voice of God is driving humanity off the cliff. Let us rekindle the spirit of love and mercy for one another. Let us ask Jesus to open us to his teachings so that we can embrace the golden rule with our hearts. Our relationships are in need of urgent reawakening. God is the power behind this newness, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let us allow this power of God that transformed St. Paul do the same in us.
Luke 6: 27-38
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”