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 just heard, as reported by Luke, is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has just proclaimed the need to love one’s enemies, a passage which radically overturns the selfish 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 with equally upsetting words: “Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.” It is not enough to simply be merciful, although even that would be a great thing, given that our hearts generally are filled with grudges, envy, cursing, indifference, and violent feelings. Jesus sets a high standard for mercy: the Father’s. Yes, Jesus’ disciples are called to be as merciful as God is. It is an ideal as high as heaven, and yet that is what the Lord asks of us, his disciples. It is not only a moral teaching that invites us to perform a few works of mercy; certainly it is also this. But to take up the Lord’s teaching is, above all, a way of life. To be merciful like God means to have a heart like God’s, to be as attentive as God is, to love as God loves. This is why Jesus can even command us not to judge. Our judgments of others are always ambiguous: in general, in fact, we are good towards ourselves and malevolent towards others. As the Gospel says elsewhere: we are very good at seeing the straw in someone else’s eye and not seeing the beam in our own. The Gospel continues to command each one 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 great evangelical, as well as human, wisdom. Let us welcome it into our heart and practice it in our life.