Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23 Corinthians 15: 45-49 Luke 6: 27-38
Lent is on the horizon! The gospel today is food
for thought on how we may spend the forty days.
"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."
The choice is ours, we can hear, or we can turn off the words of Jesus, just like we ignore the many words that bombard our ears everyday.
There is no more significant challenge in life than to like someone who does not like us, treat someone nicely with respect who has just destroyed our dignity, pray for one with whom even God must have a problem. Jesus is not mincing words today, as God did not provide Moses with vague commandments. He is right in our face. If our faith and Sacramental system of Baptism and the subsequent sacraments we received aren't enough, then we can take this directive lightly. Unfortunately, for we who choose to concentrate on other words and gloss over this gospel, we aren't living up to God's expectations. Following Christ and living from the graces of the Sacraments we received and continue to receive is the core of living the Catholic life.
Just look at history and what gets media coverage today, and it is obvious that retaliating against hurts, whether they be personal or communal, or national, are actions that result in violence and destruction without resolution. If there is one thing the human race has failed to comprehend, it is that treating our enemies as they treat us makes the world a more unsafe and unpeaceful place to live.
Perhaps the other rule cited in Luke's gospel: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is easier for our frail minds to direct our attention. This eliminates the cursing, the hating, and the broken relationships that fracture friendships, families, groups, and nations. This rule is all about me.
The Golden Rule was the way of life of Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Dorothy Day. The grace-filled persons in our history who have made our lives less challenging as we learn about what they have done to minimize hatred can motivate us to act upon today's message. The realization that this gospel can affect my behavior and that of those who listen is a hopeful thought and Lenten project.
If you are musically inclined, the hymn of St. Francis asking God to make you a “channel of God’s peace. Where there is hatred let me sow your love,” be the song of your life this Lent and forever.
Sister Dorothy Maxwell, OP