Jesus, the second man is from heaven. He bids us to be one with him, so that we who are of the earth may become heavenly also.
We heard last Sunday that Jesus looked at his disciples and then announced the blessings and the woes. Did he mean to say that he wanted those he had chosen to be more heavenly than the rest of his hearers? And these were the apostles, a great crowd of disciples and many others who were hungry for heavenly words and cures.
But today, we hear Jesus say, “To you who hear I say.” So, there is no doubt that he wants all, not just those close to him, to be heavenly.
And he tells them to love their foes and do good to those who hate them. He also teaches them to bless those who curse them and pray for those who hurt them. Besides, he wants those who hear him to give more than what they are asked. Though they may end up in the buff. And to let the one who takes what is theirs to keep it.
Such sayings are heavenly for sure. For the normal for us who are of the earth is to love only those who love us. To do good only to those who do good to us. And to lend only to those who pay us back. “Equivalence” is enough for us who are of the earth.
That is why such sayings of the Teacher and Prophet from Nazareth sound strange, odd, to us. They puzzle us. But it is good that they do so; maybe the challenge before us will be etched better on our minds and consciences.
Ours is the calling to be heavenly.
Jesus challenges, yes, to be human to the full by being true children of the Most High. He is kind to those who are wicked and not thankful; he is our merciful Father. Hence, we prove and make known that we are God’s children when we mirror his love, his goodness and his mercy. When we share in his “superabundance,” in his “outrageous generosity.”
Mercy is the distinctive trait of our Father in heaven (SV.EN XI:328). Hence, for us to be heavenly means to be kind and full of mercy as our Father is kind and full of mercy. That is to say, we should go beyond the common principle, “I give you so you may give me.” Our principle, our measure, must be God’s mercy. The mercy made flesh in the one who gives up his body and sheds his blood for sinners.
So, we are to shed all that in one way or another clashes with mercy. It is the goal of all that we want to be or not to be. Of all that we try to do or not do. In that way, we will be true hearers and doers of God’s Word. Thus, too, will we get to do what is good, not for our own profit or pleasure, but only for the good of our neighbor.
Lord Jesus, let us have mercy in our guts (Col 3, 12). In that way, we who are earthly will become heavenly and we will measure up to the mercy that you wish for us. Be the overflowing reward, or better, merit, for our being just and true.
20 February 2022
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