3/6/2023 (Monday) Today’s gospel reading: Luke 6:36-38
36 Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as 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.”
3/6/2023 (Monday) Today’s gospel reflection: Luke 6:36-38
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 of the scripture. By ourselves, we can only do so much. In fact, we can do 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.
The axiom “The more we give, the more we receive” is true only for those who try it. Take for example, smile. When we smile a lot, people often respond by smiling back. Or money. Money is like energy. It goes around and it comes back to you.