Liturgy of the Sunday

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Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time


First Reading

1 Samuel 26,2.7-9.12-13

So Saul set off and went down to the desert of Ziph, accompanied by three thousand picked men of Israel, to search for David in the desert of Ziph. So in the dark David and Abishai made their way towards the force, where they found Saul lying asleep inside the camp, his spear stuck in the ground beside his head, with Abner and the troops lying round him. Abishai then said to David, 'Today God has put your enemy in your power; so now let me pin him to the ground with his own spear. Just one stroke! I shall not need to strike him twice.' David said to Abishai, 'Do not kill him, for who could raise his hand against Yahweh's anointed and go unpunished? David took the spear and the pitcher of water from beside Saul's head, and they made off. No one saw, no one knew, no one woke up; they were all asleep, because a torpor from Yahweh had fallen on them. David crossed to the other side and halted on the top of the mountain a long way off; there was a wide space between them.

Psalmody

Psalm 102

Antiphon

The tenderness of the Lord is as great as the heavens.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord,
all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord
and never forget all his blessings.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,
who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with love and compassion,

who fills your life with good things,
renewing your youth like an eagle's.

The Lord does deeds of justice,
gives judgement for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses
and his deeds to Israel's sons.

The Lord is compassion and love,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.

His wrath will come to an end;
he will not be angry for ever.

He does not treat us according to our sins
nor repay us according to our faults.

For as the heavens are high above the earth
so strong is his love for those who fear him .

As far as the east is from the west
so far does he remove our sins.

As a father has compassion on his sons,
the Lord has pity on those who fear him;

for he knows of what we are made,
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
he flowers like the flower of the field;

the wind blows and he is gone
and his place never sees him again.

But the love of the Lord is everlasting
upon those who hold him in fear;

his justice reaches out to children's children
when they keep his covenant in truth,
when they keep his will in their mind.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven
and his kingdom is ruling over all.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels,
mighty in power, fulfilling his word,
who heed the voice of his word.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his hosts,
his servants who do his will.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his works,
in every place where he rules.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord!

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 15,45-49

So the first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; and the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. But first came the natural body, not the spiritual one; that came only afterwards. The first man, being made of earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven. The earthly man is the pattern for earthly people, the heavenly man for heavenly ones. And as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so we shall bear the likeness of the heavenly one.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 6,27-38

'But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from someone who takes it. Treat others as you would like people to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to get money back, what credit can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. '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.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The Gospel follows the speech of the beatitudes. Jesus says with authority: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." These are words which can still seem foreign to today's common mentality. How is it possible to love our enemy and do good to those who hate us? If there is one thing clear in this world it is the division between friends and enemies: the first are to be benefited (also because we expect the same from them) and the last, in the best cases, are to be ignored. This goes for individuals as well as for groups and nations. But Jesus does not stop there. He adds: "If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt." And then we want to say, "This is one of the unreachable affirmations of the Gospel!" Indeed, we believe that it totally impossible to put them into practice. We all experience how difficult it is to forgive those who do us wrong. And how even more difficult it is to forgive who declares to be our enemy! A Gospel which asks us not only to forgive offenses, but which demands that we love our enemies, is too foreign to our lives. Certainly, it is without a doubt different from the world, but not foreign to our life. Better still, these words resonate deeply in our current times. Rarely, has a society needed to hear them like we do today. Our society was built and is still being built upon the law of competitiveness: only what can compete has value. But competition inevitably brings with it opposition to the other which is seen as a rival, or even as an enemy. The Gospel seeks to defeat this logic at its very root. It is a terrible logic which underlies every kind of violence and war. For this reason, the words of Jesus are anything but inhumane. If anything, it is the life we normally live which is inhumane, based as it is on the logic of opposition. Before our eyes we see the bitter fruits, which come from not wanting to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. Jesus does not share with us a fundamental category, that is the idea of victory over others at all costs. He does not want to defeat anyone. He does not consider anyone his enemy and he never accepted the culture of competitiveness. For us winning is like an obsession. How much life is killed upon the altar of competition! For Jesus neither enemies nor the idea of winning exist. Win over whom? Jesus does not hate, and he does not despise. The only great law for him is mercy: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." And the law that follows is deeply wise: "Do to others as you would have them do to you." It is the secret of the world proposed by Jesus: a less violent world and less frustrating than the one we are used to living in.