February 24, 2019
Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
In the kindest perspective, the desire for retaliation represents a longing for justice and equity. For example, “an eye for an eye.”
Such justice is easily distorted into vengeance, hence the limiting of vengeance to precisely equal retaliation in the Old Testament. That tempering of vengeance does not really go far enough.
The problem is responding in kind—the ultimate logic of which would be one person left with one eye!!
Jesus goes to the heart of the matter: do not respond to violence with violence, do not engage at the level offered. Instead, turn the dynamic on its head: love your enemies and break the cycle of hatred and violence.
KIERAN'S NOTES HERE
LOOKING AT LIFE THROUGH
THE LENS OF THE GOSPEL
1. Our natural tendency when attacked is to self-protection and when we are attacked we attack back. We respond to an angry word with another, or to a blow by hitting back. Here Jesus suggests that at times there may be another way to act. What has been your experience of retaliation? Has it been life-giving? Have you experience of another way of acting?
2. When we do good to another, it can sometimes be in return for what we have received. At other times it can be done in the hope of getting something back. Or we may do it simply for the sake of doing good without any strings attached. Jesus suggests that this is when we are at our best. Recall your experience of these different ways of giving and celebrate the occasions when you gave without expectation of return.
3. Jesus proposes the generosity of God as a model for our generosity, and says that the generous will be rewarded. Perhaps you have experienced rewards, even in this life, from generous behaviour.
JOHN BYRNE - INTERCOM
We must meditate on this gospel reading, as Jesus would want us to: not as a burdensome obligation, but as a celebration. Jesus invites us to celebrate with him what is best in ourselves.
The language is poetical and dramatic, stirring up wonder in us at the wonderful thing that is generosity of spirit. People who are generous in spirit are able to go beyond the injustices they suffer - insults, dishonesty and cruelty - and hear a cry for help……..
Nowadays people think that the most effective way to run a community is to inspire fear, pass laws, build more prisons, bring back the death penalty. As is commonly said "This is the only language they understand."
Jesus used threats from time to time but it was always with a loving purpose. As the passage shows,
Jesus knew that the only way
to get us to move forward
is to meet us at the level
where we will freely choose to be generous.