GOSPEL: Luke 6:27-38
Be compassionate as your heavenly father is compassionate.
Jesus told a parable to his disciples: I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’
In today’s gospel Jesus is telling his disciples about his central teaching of loving enemies. This witnesses to the Father’s unconditional goodness: Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. There is no other teaching of Jesus that is more challenging or more disputed/modified so that Christians can live like non Christians.
Jesus sums up this Christian way of life with: ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.’ A new threat to this way of building our society is the impending euthanasia and assisted suicide culture, the latest front in the ‘Culture of Death.’ This is being debated in the British parliament next week. Here is excerpts from a recent Catholic Herald article. [References to Laura is to a woman who decided to commit suicide because of clinical depression and who felt that her life was meaningless.]