Measuring Up to God’s Mercy

Luke 6: 27-38
Col 3: 12-17 / Psa 150

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28)

Let our yardstick be compassion,
To measure each mistake or wrong;
Kindness in every occasion
Lightens hearts as well as our own.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 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 and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6: 27-38)

Reflection

In our renewal community we find it so easy to express our love because it is readily reciprocated. We casually do favors for each other because caring and harmony are integral in our culture. We pray for God’s blessings on those who are kind to us, and we offer our cheeks when we greet each other with a kiss. But our Lord Jesus asks us, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Lk.6:32) Jesus wants us to bring our loving to a higher level. “But rather, love your enemies and do good to them . . . then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk.6:35-36) How do we behave in other places or circumstances outside our community?

The Gospel reading today would have convicted me for my unacceptable behavior yesterday as I was rushing home to fetch my wife for our daily noon mass attendance. A distant cousin from a distant province was waiting for me outside my office, not wanting to bother me in my work. I recognized him as one of those individuals who seemed to never run out of problems, and always approaching me for help at a bad time when I was in a hurry. I brushed his pleas aside, and told him to wait as I was indeed already late. Heading to the church after fetching my wife, I realized my failure to practice compassion when it was most needed because of my prejudice against that person. During the mass, I prayed to the Lord for the grace of discernment, still doubtful about the sincerity of that person asking for help. After the mass, as we headed back to the car, there was my distant cousin again waiting. He had followed us to the church, and this time we decided to hear him out (patiently). Sure enough, he needed money – to transport his student son and their belongings back to their province, and the amount was not that considerable. When I handed him what he needed, I could not help but measure myself, and found my earlier behavior sorely wanting.

Thank you, dear God, for guiding us in the right path, to show mercy and compassion even when we are doubtful and biased. Forgive us, Lord, when we sometimes succumb to our prejudices. Remind us always that it is better to err on the side of mercy. Amen.

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