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September 10, 2020

Lk 6:27-38 

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. 

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the 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, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

Love is the measure

Who can measure up to the standard Jesus sets in this Gospel? It’s one thing to say “love your enemies” and it’s another to follow through on loving the people who push my buttons, who might deceive me, or even harm me. But if I rationalize why I don’t have to show someone respect or kindness, I put myself at odds with Jesus’ insistence that his disciples love without qualification. This is better understood not as an impossible ideal, but an aspiration: no matter how many times I might fail or fall short, I always have another chance to choose love. 

Why does Jesus issue this challenge? Not to make us feel like we can never fully measure up, but because love changes us. Jesus tells us: don’t give up on love; it urges us to replace judgment with compassion, resentment with tenderness, frugality with generosity, timidity with fortitude, certainty with humility, cynicism with hope, and shame or blame with forgiveness. Being loved and loving others is transformative. 

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

God who is love without limit,
Allow me to bask in the love you have for me, precisely as I am.
Help me to see myself the way you do, 
as infinitely sacred and with immense potential to reflect your love in the world.
Grant me the presence of mind to see your love incarnated in every person I meet,
to resist any temptation to disregard or discredit another person,
to give others the benefit of the doubt,
and to look for opportunities for growth and healing. 
I want and I choose to love others—especially those who are hard for me to love—
in the hope that I can love ever more freely and fully, 
to love more and more like you.
Amen. 

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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September 10, 2020

Lk 6:27-38 

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. 

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the 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, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

Love is the measure

Who can measure up to the standard Jesus sets in this Gospel? It’s one thing to say “love your enemies” and it’s another to follow through on loving the people who push my buttons, who might deceive me, or even harm me. But if I rationalize why I don’t have to show someone respect or kindness, I put myself at odds with Jesus’ insistence that his disciples love without qualification. This is better understood not as an impossible ideal, but an aspiration: no matter how many times I might fail or fall short, I always have another chance to choose love. 

Why does Jesus issue this challenge? Not to make us feel like we can never fully measure up, but because love changes us. Jesus tells us: don’t give up on love; it urges us to replace judgment with compassion, resentment with tenderness, frugality with generosity, timidity with fortitude, certainty with humility, cynicism with hope, and shame or blame with forgiveness. Being loved and loving others is transformative. 

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

God who is love without limit,
Allow me to bask in the love you have for me, precisely as I am.
Help me to see myself the way you do, 
as infinitely sacred and with immense potential to reflect your love in the world.
Grant me the presence of mind to see your love incarnated in every person I meet,
to resist any temptation to disregard or discredit another person,
to give others the benefit of the doubt,
and to look for opportunities for growth and healing. 
I want and I choose to love others—especially those who are hard for me to love—
in the hope that I can love ever more freely and fully, 
to love more and more like you.
Amen. 

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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