Thursday, September 10, 2015
Reflection: Luke 6:27-38
Thursday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time — Luke 6:27-38
Jesus gives his disciples a challenge. He tells them: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you.” However, Jesus does not stop there. He continues: “If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer your other cheek to them as well. If a person takes your cloak, give him your tunic also.”
The ultimate call from Jesus is: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Today Jesus is calling us to examine ourselves and ask: Do I do unto others as I would like them to do unto me? I assume we likely have varying responses. “I try to live this way, however, there are some people who simply drive me crazy.” Or I might say: “I can do that with most people but there is one person who deeply wounded me, and I simply am unable to forgive that individual.”
Jesus then says: “If you love the people who love you, what credit is that for you? Even the pagans do this. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Quit condemning others and you will not be condemned!” Jesus then states: “Forgive and you will be forgiven. The measure you give will be the measure that is returned to you.”
These bluntly spoken words are difficult to hear. They may challenge us at the deepest level of our being. Most likely, each one of us has been wounded, betrayed or rejected at differing times in our lives. If this person was a friend, this wounding typically is amplified since we trusted this individual. However, each one of us also has wounded or betrayed individuals in our life. It is all part of our human condition.
When Jesus instructs us to love our enemies, he does not mean that this person should become one of my best friends. Jesus understands that forgiving is first a decision. However, it also is a process. The path to forgiveness may take a long time, and understandably so. However, we have to choose to take the first step. No one can force us to take this step; we are the only ones who can make this decision. And in reality, it may take a long time before we are ready and willing to begin the process of forgiveness.
Jesus doesn’t ask for miracles nor does he want “play” forgiveness. He continually invites us not only to free the individual who wounded us, but also to free ourselves from the pain, anger and hurt that binds us. Jesus is patient and yet persistent. He continually invites us and calls us to forgive. Perhaps today we can take one small step in this direction.