Homily for the seventh Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 6:27-38
Father Daniel Meynen
"Jesus said to his disciples: « Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For 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? For even sinners do the same. And 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. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.
"« Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; 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. »"
"Jesus said to his disciples: « Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. »"
The words of Jesus are clear: "Give to every one who begs from you..." The whole economy, that is to say the whole organization, of Christian life is contained in these few words. He who believes in Jesus the Son of God cannot be attached to worldly possessions. He must be attached to the unique good that is God, the supreme Good! The Christian must follow the Spirit of Christ, this Spirit who lives in us by the grace of God! The Christian must be a spiritual man, he must be a poor man in spirit: his soul must be poor in worldly possessions in order to be rich in the gifts of Heaven! "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God!"
But all this must be moderated with prudence... It is not acceptable to give just anyhow to anyone! It is necessary to act with prudence, avoiding both "too much" and "not enough". For only the theological virtues - that is to say the virtues that have God as their object: faith, hope, and charity - are without limit. One can never have enough love for God, one can never hope enough in God, one can never believe enough in God. But it often happens that we overstep the limits of the other virtues: we want to punish with too much justice and with not enough mercy, we want to take too much care of our bodily health and not enough of our spiritual health, etc...
Let us listen to Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus on this topic: "I must show myself to be very honored to render service, and, to use one of my expressions, appear happy once I've rid myself of the task. However I could not always practise the words of the gospel to the letter; there were occasions when I found it necessary to refuse the requests of my Sisters. But when charity puts forth deep roots in the soul, it shows on the outside: there is a way of refusing what one cannot give that is so kind, that the refusal is received with as much pleasure as the gift would have been."
"« Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. »"
The world of today shouts justice from all quarters: "From whom have you received this bribe?" is asked of one person! "Have you been unfaithful to your wife, and how many times?" is thrown in the face of a certain well-known man! Yes, the world of today shouts justice... And yet... Aren't we all a little like the pharisees who took part in the condemnation of the woman caught in the act of adultery?
Should it not also be to us, as well as to the world of today, that Jesus addresses these words: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)? Justice is a virtue to be exercised, but it has its limits: they are those of mercy! "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." If the world shouts JUSTICE, will God not send it HIS justice, instead of sending it HIS mercy? For Jesus said: "The measure you give will be the measure you get back."
Let us pray together during this celebration of the Eucharist. Let us ask the Most Holy Virgin Mary to teach us mercy, love and the forgiveness of enemies. The grace of God is almighty: it will help us to convert ourselves! Let us receive the Body of Christ with devotion! Let us unite ourselves to Jesus, the King of Kings, in the Eucharist, so that, through us, HIS justice and HIS mercy be spread over the whole world!