Luke 6:27-38 Reflection, Commentary

A reading from the gospel according to Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
27 “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 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.
30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.
34 If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.
35 But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
36 Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.
37 “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
38 Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Reflection

Good News: Gifts will be given to you in good measure.

This gospel passage sounds so radical that it turns our whole way of life upside down. It is hard, most people will say. Indeed, these teachings of the Lord are not the usual way people behave. So, how do we begin?

First, I look at myself and humbly admit why own weaknesses and wickedness. Yet in spite of all my unworthiness, God loves me and will continue to love me. He is merciful to me and He does all things good for me even if I continue to sin and turn my back on Him. This is how God relates to me.

With this backdrop, I now turn to see how I relate to others. Aware of my own weaknesses, I can now understand he weaknesses of others. Having experience the immense love of God to an unworthy being like me, I can now start to love others even if I think they are unworthy of my love. Because I do not like God to judge me, why should I judge others?

It all boils down to God’s love. If we feel too much to love our enemies, let us turn to God who loved us first. If we feel like judging others, let us remember God’s mercy on all His children, good or bad. Likewise, when we could hardly give away our hard-earned money, let us be reminded how God had been so generous to us.

Jesus demands of us a higher standard of behavior because He knew we are capable of doing it. We only have to continually seek His presence and He will make us a channel of His love and mercy to others. With man it is impossible but God it is possible. (Matthew 19:26)
***
The axiom “The more we give, the more we receive” is true only for those who try it. Money after all is like energy. It goes around and it comes back to you.

*****

The gospel reading above gives us yardsticks with which to measure how far or how close we are to the criteria of a good follower of Jesus. They look very difficult, if not impossible, to do especially in the age of social media. Yet we cannot just throw in the towel and continue to live in the dark. We try and we fall but God who understands our weaknesses will pick us up. We try again and in trying to do good every single day, we will come to the point where we realize that goodness is our true nature and that we really do not belong to this world but to Jesus.

Difficult but doable are the precepts enumerated above. By ourselves, we can only do so much. In fact, we can nothing apart from Jesus (John 15:5). On the same verse however, Jesus assures us that we can bear much fruit if we remain in Him because He is the vine and we are the branches. Likewise, we can derive inspiration from St. Paul when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Because we ourselves know that the principles of behavior as enumerated above are challenging, we can now become understanding of others. When they too fall, we are called to help and lift them up instead of judging them. Just as God is ever ready to forgive our shortcomings, we must also be ready to forgive others.

*****

In today’s culture, being merciful is tantamount to being weak. That is why strongmen or people with perceptions of strength are often elected into the highest positions of government. They say we need these men in order to instill discipline and order in society. Yet time and time again, these strongmen who are otherwise called dictators never last. Sooner or later they are deposed for the main reason that their strongman attitude results only to widespread injustice, corruption and deep division in society. History has shown us that dictatorial governments which are bereft of mercy only attract strong opposition which then later leads to bloody revolution. There is a need therefore to practice benevolence in governance.

On the personal level, being merciful is premised on the truth that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and in need of mercy from our creator. In this connection, we need not judge others nor condemn them. A simple fact is that when we point one finger to others, three other fingers necessarily point to us. Instead, let us be forgiving so that we ourselves will be forgiven.

Being merciful and generous go together. You cannot be merciful and at the same time blind to the needs of others. Verse 38 tells us the reality. God is watching everything we do. When we give, there is absolutely no need to expect something in return. God Himself will make sure that we are blessed a thousand and one fold. Let us keep on sharing our blessings to others and our Father in heaven will keep on pouring his blessings upon us.

Gospel Reading and Reflection for September 9 2021
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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