Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time (September 13, 2018): The joy of loving your enemies

Thứ Tư, 12-09-2018 | 15:24:14

Today’s Readings:

1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13
Psalm 139:1-3, 13-14, 23-24
Luke 6:27-38

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

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 one as well,
and from the person who takes your 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.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
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.
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.
Be merciful, just as also 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.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

Good News Reflection: The joy of loving your enemies

Who has cursed you? Bless them! Who has mistreated you? Pray for them! Who has taken something from you unfairly? Give them more! Who has been an enemy to you? Love them the way they should love you but are not.

Ouch, I do not enjoy living like that. But who says we’re supposed to enjoy everything we do? Jesus certainly did not enjoy his cross. The way of the cross is what separates the holy from the earthly. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel reading, “If you love those who love you, big deal! Even sinners do that.” We are saints — i.e., we are different from the world because we follow Christ –in the way we treat those who do not love us: the healthy way, the compassionate way, the Christ-like way.

Jesus spelled out very clearly that to be children of the Most High God, we have to be kind to the ungrateful and the wicked, just like our Divine Daddy. We have to be merciful, just like our Father in whose image we were created.

Enjoying what we do is not always possible, but joy is. Christian joy (Christ’s joy) comes from leaning on Christ, because he is full of love for us. We will never be loved enough by others, but we can be full of love — the choice is ours. By giving Christ’s love to others regardless of how they treat us, we immerse ourselves fully into Christ’s love. What we give is what we receive, for God is love, and when we give love even to those who don’t deserve it, we receive God, who is the only source of real love and real joy!

Jesus said that what we measure out is the same measure by which we receive. If we measure out only small doses of love (little acts of kindness, conditional forgiveness, leftover portions of our money and possessions, etc.), we have so little connection to God that we’re not receiving all that he can give. But if we’re generous, if the measuring cup seems bottomless, it’s because we’re full of God. His mercy, his forgiveness, his love, his gifts, his help, his everything is given to us in good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing into the lives of others.

No matter what others do to us, God is good to us. When they curse us and we bless them, God blesses us, and since what he blesses becomes holy, we become — wow! — holy saints. When they mistreat us and we pray for them, Jesus prays for us — for our needs and for our healing — and the Father will never say no to his Son. When they take from us unfairly and we give them more than what they’re demanding, God gives us more than what we need.

That’s how much God loves us! Oh what joy!

Today’s Prayer:

Jesus, I want You to teach me how to love as You love. With my strength alone, I am not able to reach out to others and give them all the love they need and deserve. But if Your Holy Spirit works in me — empowering me, healing me, and delivering me — nothing will stop me from showing them a God who gave His last drop of blood for His brothers and sisters! Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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