Reading: 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. Luke 6:27.
Good morning, happy Thursday, and many blessings my dear family.
As we read this challenging passage (Luke 6:27-38), we should always have in the back of our minds two further Scripture passages. The first is the words of Jesus recorded by St John: “without me, you can do nothing”. No situation will ever arise in my life when Jesus is not by my side helping me to do what is for God’s glory and my own good. Didn’t he promise at the Ascension to be with us always to the end of time. The second passage comes from the Acts of the Apostles and is attributed to St Paul, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me”. So let us carry on confidently, courageously and cheerfully.
In yesterday’s Gospel we read and prayed on ‘Luke’s beatitudes’ which teach us that if we are poor, insulted etc. in the service of God, we are blessed because we have been chosen to serve God in this outstanding way. Today’s Gospel develops the theme of what the following of Christ involves. It involves first and foremost following the example of Jesus and the evangelist’s use of hyperbole reinforces the teachings, for example, never return evil for evil; be good to others without hoping for anything in return. The teaching in this section seems odd and impossible to follow and hence we have a ‘way out’ but if we grasp the meaning of the metaphor, we understand the very difficult but realistic demands of the Gospel.
If what Jesus asks seems too much for us, we are beginning to understand that our response will depend not on ourselves alone but on a grace that comes from God. Only by receiving the spirit that Jesus promises will we be able to witness to the love, forgiveness and peace to which Jesus calls us.
Perhaps it is not so much that I am asked to imitate God’s compassion as to be a channel for it. I pray that I may be open, transparent, and free in letting the image of God in which I am created be seen and experienced. If what Jesus asks seems too much for us, we are beginning to understand that our response will depend not on ourselves alone but on a grace that comes from God. Only by receiving the spirit that Jesus promises will we be able to witness to the love, forgiveness and peace to which Jesus calls us.
Today Jesus invites us to respond to the world as he did – loving, blessing, praying, and offering. We are called to do this not only where there is something of which we approve, but in all circumstances. I ask God to remove any way of seeing which causes me to distrust, to judge, to condemn or to hold back. I pray for patience to endure difficult circumstances and courage to be able to confront them as well as I can.
And let's always keep in mind, when we stop those who exploit or oppress us, we do it because we love them. In this way I free myself and I also free the oppressor because now he has no one to oppress. It is not accepting with an attitude of submission. It is resisting and changing situations of oppression into experiences of Salvific liberation.