Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection. Those who love as he does, and embrace lovingly even the wicked and the thankless, live in the newness of life.
Luke took liberty with Is 61, 1-2, the passage that Jesus read at the synagogue in Nazareth. The Gospel writer made no mention of “to heal the brokenhearted” (Is 61, 1c). He also added “recovery of sight to the blind,” and inserted Is 58, 6d, “to let the oppressed go free.” But more surprisingly, he left out “a day of vindication by our God” (Is 61, 2b). He meant to say, by this last omission, that Jesus did not embrace vengeance.
No, Jesus does not buy the idea of vengeance by our God against our enemies. He is against nationalism. It makes us hate and reject foreigners and strangers as enemies and belittle everything that is not our country. Moreover, it gives us a false sense of worthiness, greatness and entitlement.
Jesus stands up for universalism instead. He reveals a God who reaches out to people of every race, tongue and nation, to both saints and sinners. He, the heavenly One, bends down to gather us who are earthly into the embrace of God’s love and mercy.
The true followers of Jesus are instruments of God’s embrace for all of his children.
So then, there is nothing about vengeance in Jesus’ teaching, either by words or by deeds. Those, then, who truly belong to him learn from him nothing about vengeance. And they listen carefully to his words about the new and radical love. About love for enemies, love that is selfless to the extreme, expecting nothing back. With pure intention (SV.EN XII:143). So, they help those with bodily or spiritual needs not to satisfy themselves but to respond to their real cry (see Pope Francis 2). It is enough that the Lord is their reward.
True disciples, above all, follow as best as they can Jesus’ example of love to the end, which the Eucharist recalls. Dying for us sinners, Jesus shows us how much God loves us (Rom 5, 8). He sweeps us up besides into the embrace of this love.
Lord Jesus, pour out your Spirit upon us so that he may lead us to full love. May this love be truly our brand as Christians. And make us your embrace of love and mercy for those who need it.
24 February 2019
7th Sunday in O.T. (C)
1 Sam 26, 2. 7-9. 12-13. 22-23; 1 Cor 15, 45-49; Lk 6, 27-38
Tags: A Vincentian reading of the Sunday readings, Ross Dizon