Jesus said to his disciples: “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other one too; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. [could end here ] Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “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 it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
This Weekend is Saturday the 23 and Sunday the 24 February, in the twenty-third week of Ordinary Time.
The community of Taizé sing: Tui amoris ignem. Let me make these words my prayer, as I listen. ‘Holy Spirit, come to us. Kindle in us the fire of your love.’
This weekend’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus is asking a lot here. ‘Love your enemies’ is easy to say but very hard to do. You can well imagine his audience listening and thinking, “Come on, no one loves their enemies.” Yet there is an undeniable truth here – anyone can love the people who love them; anyone can ‘be nice’ to people who are nice to them. It comes naturally. But can I do any better than what comes naturally? Can I sense God asking any more than that of me?
And Jesus touches on another truth here: if you only give love or care or kindness when you can be sure of getting it back, it’s not real kindness, not real care, not real love that you’re giving. Real love is not a deal, a transaction. Real love is given freely. Where in my life do I see God inviting me to love more like that?
As this passage is read again, imagine Jesus looking you in the eye, looking at you with love, and speaking these words to you.
Jesus is present here now, so speak to him about how what he says relates to your life – to the way you live and the way you love.