September 11, 2014
Today’s gospel: Luke 6:27-38
As if Jesus’ teaching yesterday was not hard enough (blessed are the poor but woe to the rich), now he ratchets it up one notch higher. “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (v.27). This is truly an overturning of the wisdom of the world and the natural inclinations of fallen man.
But this is what the call to holiness is about. This is truly being “set apart.” To love those who love you, to do good to those who do good to you, to lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, “even sinners do the same.” (v.33b). So how are you different, especially since we are also all sinners?
“But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back” (v.35a). Who can do this? God can, “for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” (v.35c). Look at Jesus on the cross. He loved his enemies, including those who crucified him, and in fact went to the cross precisely for them. He did good to those who hated him, extending to them mercy and the gift of salvation. He blessed those who cursed him, spat on him and tortured him. He prayed for those who mistreated him, asking the Father to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing.
But that’s Jesus. Indeed. And he asks the same of us. He loves us so much that he wants us to be holy as God is holy, to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (v.36). If that difficult? Of course. It is in fact impossible just on our own strength. But that is who we are meant to be. It is how we can be set apart. It is how we can truly claim to be children of God and inheritors of the Kingdom. “Then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High” (v.35b).
Jesus says all these “to you who hear.” Are you listening?
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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