Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 6, 36-38

'Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.'


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Gospel passage we have heard is taken from the Sermon on the Mount as reported in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus has just proclaimed the need to love one’s enemies, a passage which radically overturns the egocentric culture of this world of which we are all children. We heard it yesterday in the parallel passage in Matthew’s Gospel. Now Jesus exhorts the disciples which likewise upsetting words: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful." It is not enough to simply be merciful, even if this would be great, given that our hearts generally are filled with grudges, envy, cursing, indifference and violent feelings.
Jesus places a measure on mercy, the same as that of the Father. Yes, Jesus’ disciples are called to be merciful as God is. It is an ideal as high as heaven, and yet it is what the Lord asks of us his disciples. It is not a moral exhortation that invites us to fulfil some work of mercy; it is this too. But it above all is a style of life which takes up what the Lord suggests. To be merciful like God means to have a heart like his, an attentiveness like his, a love like his. This is why he can also exhort to not judge. Our judgments on others are always ambiguous: in general, in fact, we are good with ourselves and malevolent towards others. It is what the Gospel says elsewhere: we are very skilled in seeing the straw in the other’s eye and in not seeing the beam in ours. The Gospel continues to exhort each of us to open our heart. Jesus says: "Give and it will be given to you; forgive and you will be forgiven." With these words the Lord gives us a great Gospel wisdom which is also human. Let us receive it in our heart and practise it in our life.