Gospel: (Luke 6:27-38)
Jesus said to his disciples: “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. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes you cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you…Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.”
We have here, for those “who hear,” the deeper challenge beyond the Beatitudes. Not everyone can hear and live this challenge; this is why it is so difficult to establish God’s reign. Jesus lays out the concrete conduct that establishes the kingdom, and it truly is extraordinary in its demands. True this extraordinary way of relating to others isn’t normal! It is divine! God has acted toward us already with extraordinary kindness and mercy, already giving us a full measure of blessedness. Can we afford not to hear? (Living Liturgy, p.62)
Vincentian Meditation: All our lives we are preparing and choosing the sort of judge we will have at the end of our lives. It is the compassionate and understanding judgments which we make about others which are fashioning the judge we ourselves will meet at the moment of death. If our judgments have been harsh and unsympathetic toward others, then the judge we are choosing for ourselves at the end of our lives will be a harsh and unsympathetic one. We must draw that conclusion from our Lord’s own words: “…because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.” And so we can say, “With the judgment you pronounce you will be judged.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.191)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
What is the greatest challenge for you: To stop judging or condemning; or to be forgiving?
When we are weighed down by burdens, -Give us the grace not to judge others. When we need hope and peace, -Give us the grace not to condemn others. When we forget your presence among us, -Give us the grace to forgive. Amen