In the Gospel Reading, Jesus emphasizes the connection between inner attitude and outer actions. The absolute generosity of God showers love on those who hate Him and despise Him. Genuine Christians know they are products of divine generosity. We all owe ourselves to God’s generosity.
Last Sunday Jesus’ beatitudes and woes established the clear instruction for His disciples to commit themselves to a new way for daily living. The old order of self-preservation and self-promotion cannot and will not be the way of the Church.
In a direct continuation of Jesus’ discourse popularly called the “sermon on the plain”, today we learn more what is involved (Luke 6:27-38).
Jesus’ teaching boldly reverses the status quo. His followers must love their enemies, do good to those who hate them, bless those who curse them and pray for those who treat them badly. Why does Jesus place love at the heart of intentional discipleship? We must love others because God first loved us. To the degree we are aware of our first having been loved by God we are better able to love others, especially those who are more difficult and demanding.
Christian life has nary a thing to do with blending into a world that denies God and scorns the inherent dignity of all humans, born and unborn. We are suppose to change the world by bringing people to Christ Jesus, not be indistinguishable from everyone else. It ought to come as no surprise that real Christians will be regarded as foolish by the godless secularists.
Understood correctly, Christian love never is passive nor disengaged. No! Christian love always is seen and experienced as compassion – walking alongside others in their distress sensitively, patiently and faithfully
People who hate are in great distress. As I have learned over the years from many friends of Bill W., hurting people hurt people. They are the ones with ruptured hearts and shattered dreams, reflected in their own broken and divided lives. Jesus explains that Christians show compassion to all, never condemning but always forgiving. This is the only path to break the spiral of violence.
“Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them” (Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower +1897).