Monday, March 18, 2019
1) OPENING PRAYER
Just and holy God,
our loving Father,
you offered us Your hand in friendship
and You sent us Your Son Jesus
to go with us on the road
of obedience and loyalty.
God, we often hurt this friendship,
we act as if we were not Your sons and daughters.
See the look of shame on our faces.
Forgive us, for we count on You.
Accept our thanks
for continuing to take us as we are
and loving us notwithstanding our sins.
We ask You this through Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - LUKE 6:36-38
Jesus said to his disciples: "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. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."
These three brief verses of today’s Gospel (Lk 6:36-38) are the final part of a brief discourse of Jesus (Lk 6:20-38). In the first part of His discourse, He addresses Himself to the disciples (Lk 6:20) and to the rich (Lk 6:24) proclaiming four beatitudes for the disciples (Lk 6:20-23), and four curses for the rich (Lk 6:20-26). In the second part, He addresses Himself to all those who are listening (Lk 6:27), that is, the immense crowd of poor and sick, who had come from all parts (Lk 6:17-19). The words which He addresses to this people and to all of us are demanding and difficult: to love the enemy (Lk 6,27), not curse them (Lk 6:28), offer the other cheek to the one who slaps you on one, and do not complain if someone takes what is ours (Lk 6:29). How can this difficult advice be understood? The explanation is given in the three verses of today’s Gospel from which we draw the center of the Good News brought by Jesus.
Luke 6:36: Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful. The Beatitudes for the disciples (Lk 6:20-23) and the curses against the rich (Lk 6:24-26) cannot be interpreted as an occasion for the poor to take revenge against the rich. Jesus orders us to have the contrary attitude. He says: Love your enemies! (Lk 6:27). The change which Jesus wants to bring about in us does not consist in merely changing something to invert the system, because in this way nothing would change. He wants to change the system. The idea which Jesus wants to portray comes from the new experience that He has of God the Father, full of tenderness, who accepts all, good and bad, who makes the sun shine on both the good and on the bad and makes the rain fall on both good and bad (Mt 5:5,45). True love does not depend, nor can it depend, on what I receive from others. Love must want the good of the other independently of what he does for me. Because this is how God’s love is for us. He is merciful not only toward those who are good, but with all, even with the ungrateful and the evil (Lk 6:35). The disciples of Jesus should radiate this merciful love.
Luke 6:37-38: Do not judge and you will not be judged. These last words repeat in a clearer way what Jesus had said before: Treat others as you would like them to treat you (Lk 6:31; cf. Mt 7:12). If you do not want to be judged, do not judge! If you do not want to be condemned, do not condemn. If you want to be forgiven, then forgive! If you want to receive a good measure, give this good measure to others! Do not wait for the other one to take the initiative. You take it and begin now! You will see that it is like this.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
Lent is a time of conversion. Which is the conversion which today s Gospel is asking of me?
Have you already been merciful as the Heavenly Father is?
What are my limits in being merciful and forgiving?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of Your name;
Yahweh, wipe away our sins,
rescue us for the sake of Your name. (Ps 79,9)