Dear Followers of Jesus,
Luke 6:27-38 offers us a line-by-line script on how to live faith. If you remember the gospel last week, Luke tells us that God’s love brings us together on equal ground. This is a place where we can look each other in the eyes and live in the possibility of harmony. The common ground of God’s grace is a great reminder as we listen to this gospel for today’s Mass.
This gospel passage offers us a line-by-line way to live on this common ground. In other words, each statement of Jesus attempts to break down the obstacles we have toward others. For example, the gospel says love your enemies, bless those who curse you, give to another your tunic, do to others as you would have them do to you. All these requests of Jesus teach us to rely on his grace. We stand on solid ground when we finally realize our faith must teach us a new way of being in the world. We are to live on the ground of faith and mercy, bringing with us a life that welcomes even our enemies. This is difficult at best. This gospel reminds us that all these things can be a way to deeper faith if we allow them a place in our hearts.
The gospel goes on to invite us to live God’s mercy in the world. We are to stop judging others. We are to stop condemning. We are called to forgive. These are a few of the core issues Luke has for his community that teaches them how to live faithfully. Living out these requests also teaches the community that something new will happen. Grace will flood their lives. Acceptance, abundance, and all good things will flow into the lap of those who are willing to surrender to God and to live in faith.
Even though we are to live without the expectation of repayment, Jesus offers us the notion that not all good deeds will be lost. The Father will offer an abundance of hope for all people. In other words, the good that we do helps create the common ground for wellbeing, compassion, and forgiveness manifested in each person’s life on earth. The ground will be firm in faith when we break down the obstacles of life that keep us apart.
As we move through these first weeks of Ordinary Time, the gospels offer us a glimpse of what Jesus can do for us, and his authority on the earth. When we learn to love ourselves and our neighbors, we continue his journey to explore his authority in our very lives, in our activities, and in our interactions with other people.
Soon we will enter the Lenten Season. This gospel may be a good blueprint for us to find our way to break down walls that keep us apart. It may be for us a good place to start thinking about how we live forgiveness, generosity, kindness, and justice in our lives. This gospel is a place for genuine conversion and change when we believe the ground on which we stand, even with our enemies, is a place of surrender and profound grace.
“For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor