Prayer for peace

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Memorial of Joseph of Arimathaea, disciple of the Lord who “awaited the kingdom of God”

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 passage of the Gospel we have heard is part of the Sermon of the Mount as reported by the Gospel of Luke. Jesus has just proclaimed the need of loving enemies, a passage which radically subverts the culture of the self-centred world of which we are all children. We have heard it yesterday from the parallel passage of the Gospel of Matthew. Now Jesus exhorts his disciples with equally perturbing words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Being simply merciful is not enough, even though it would be great, considering that our hearts are used to rancour, envy, slander, indifference and violent feelings. Jesus poses a high measure to mercy – the same mercy of the Father. Yes, the disciples of Jesus are called to be as merciful as God is. This ideal is as high as heaven; yet, this is what the Lord asks us, his disciples. It is not a moral exhortation inviting us to some merciful deed. Though it involves also this, the Lord calls us most of all to a lifestyle. Being as merciful as God is means having a heart like His, a care like His, a love like His. Mercy is needed in our world. There is too much hardness and coldness, there is an excess of individualism and indifference to others, especially the poor. Mercy changes hearts and history, as Jesus did passing through villages and towns of his time, always with mercy. Therefore he can also exhort us not to judge but to forgive. We always have an ambiguous judgment on the others: we are usually good to ourselves and malevolent towards others. This is what the Gospel says in another part: we are very able to see the speck in the other’s eye and not see the beam that is in ours. The Gospel keeps exhorting everyone to open up his heart. Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you; forgive, and you will be forgiven”. With these words the Lord gives us great evangelical and human wisdom. Let us receive it in our hearts and put it into practice in our lives.