Practise Love: 7th Sunday
Sermon by Emmanuel Suntheni – Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time –
Sermon And Christian Act In The Word
Theme: An ethical rule of Christian conduct: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! Golden Rule! Love your enemies! Bless those who curse or talk ill about you! Preserve life!
WE WILL STOP PREACHING IF ALL HUMAN BEINGS PRACTISE LOVE!
Point of Reflection: Have you ever judged? And have you ever been judged? Have you ever been loved? And have you ever loved someone? Have you ever experienced hatred in your life? Today’s Gospel responds to such questions and is all about the ethical rule of conduct in our daily living, thus, the golden rule: Do to others what you would want them to do to you! Love your enemies! Bless those who curse or talk ill about you! Thus our spiritual calling today. Just do good as you want good to be done to you.
First Reading: 1 Samuel 26:2, 7–9, 12–13, 22–23
Psalm: Psalm 103:1–4, 8, 10, 12–13
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:45–49
Gospel: Luke 6:27–38
Sermon (Reflection): Today’s Gospel message is very simple and clear but very challenging. Jesus urges his listeners to do what seems unnatural and almost unthinkable to an ordinary human mind. How can you love your enemies? How can you not judge and every day we are judging each other? But all this points to one word from Jesus: LOVE.
The world is broken simply because there is NO love and today’s gospel must be a yardstick of our Christian life. If we preach and live in love, then, we have completed the Gospel. Exegetically, we can note in the Gospel of today(Cf. Luke 6:27–38) that Jesus Christ first commanded his listeners(disciples) to love their enemies, do good to them, bless and pray for them, turn the other cheek when struck, give without restrictions, and not to ask for the return of goods either freely given or forcibly taken. He then commands that one should not judge or condemn, but instead forgive and give. What is the reason and the purpose of these shocking demands, which require a complete revision of one’s value system, and one’s view of human relationships?
First, Jesus provides a threefold motivation for these challenging instructions. He begins with the golden rule, “do to others as you would have them do to you.”
This rule means that all human beings, both the victims and the perpetrators, deserve humane treatment and share the same dignity, regardless of their behaviour. The second motivation evokes God’s example. Since God is kind to “the ungrateful and the wicked,” so also God’s children ought to extend their kindness and merciful behaviour not only to their friends but even to their opponents and enemies. Third, Jesus states that “the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
This implies that the unmerited acts of generosity, kindness, and forgiveness will ultimately benefit those who practice them. More importantly, however, those enemies who experience kindness, forgiveness, and non-retaliation from their victims might see their errors and turn away from their wicked ways.
We are reminded as Christians today that we need just to be kind as the measure you give to others will also be given to you.
The motto of today’s message is “love your enemies”? Jesus certainly does not teach that wicked and harmful people to our lives need attention or must be approved, No! Jesus Christ simply outlines an alternative way of responding to the evildoers bringing the evildoers to conversion. As Christians, we need to respond to our enemies and evil-doers with kindness, care, and non-retaliation-mind. The gospel is teaching us to love and be kind to the wrongdoers because they have a chance to convert and be good-doers. By acting in this forgiving manner, as Christians, we will show the world that our God is a merciful and life-giving Father who does not destroy his enemies but sustains their life, despite their wickedness. As we love, we need also to embrace justice.
Christian Act in Word of God “Restore life by loving your enemies”
The second reading of today (Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45–49) continues with St. Paul’s discussion of the resurrection of the dead. Addressing the Corinthians’ doubts regarding the nature of the risen body, St Paul uses an analogy of Adam and Christ. The first human being, Adam, was created from the dust of the earth. Christ, “the last Adam,” became a living-giving spirit. Adam symbolises that which is physical, while Christ represents that which is spiritual. Consequently, the physical body will return to dust, while those who are united to Christ the life-giver will have their body transformed and returned to heaven.
This is a reminder to us as Christians, that it is Christ who is the last Adam and that He resurrected. He defeated death because he loved us, today as Christians, we should also defeat our enemies by loving them and do good to every human being. This is the transformation we need in our daily Christian living.
The psalmist today is also telling us that, “God does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.”This is the message of love. This love means acting with kindness and forgiveness even towards the wrongdoers who do not deserve it. Such actions resemble God’s ways and are a path to the transformation of this world and life itself according to God’s design. For the believers, it means being God’s children in this world.
Likewise, today’s first reading shows how David recognised the preciousness of Saul’s life, even though Saul was his enemy. This teaches us that life must not be extinguished by anyone, or for any reason because it was neither created by us nor given by us in the first place. Since it is a gift from God, we cannot consider ourselves as creators of our own lives, or the lives of others.
We are life’s custodians, entrusted with the task of preserving the lives of others because we are all children gifted with the breath of God. God created us in his image and likeness and saw that it was good. God wants us to nurture his life in and among us, both spiritually and physically, and that is the reason why he gave us his only son, the man of heaven.
It is never easy to love our enemies but with the grace of God we can, and it brings more grace than loving those who love us in return. Loving others means having a compassionate heart that forgives the wrong done to me. It is never easy to turn the other cheek, it is never easy to accept a person that you think is against your progress, it is never easy to accept criticism from others, and it is never easy to accept a friend who betrayed you. Loving enemies means the willingness to be compassionate and kind without expecting the same in return. It is difficult and demanding teaching. However, it is also one of the important ways of preserving life in our day-to-day dealings with others.
Golden rule begins with appreciating the simplest things, such as being grateful for the fact that I woke up this morning, I am breathing, I can do things, and deciding what to do with my time. As we have just celebrated Valentine’s Day, we need to be reminded that it is only through love and giving small things to our loved ones that will make a big impact in the life of our loved ones and our enemies. If we plant love on earth then, we will have heaven on earth. Our mission must be planting love wherever we are not hatred.
Action: From today onwards, I will love my enemies and forgive them. I will always do what I wish others to do to me.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my life, for your everyday blessings, and for the gift of people in my life. Teach me Lord to embrace my enemies and to love them. Teach me Lord to do to others what I would like them to do to me. Almighty God, empower me to be the ambassador of your love in this world, Amen.
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