7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) ///Luke 6:27-38 ///Luke 6:27-38
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
Commentary | Talking Points
- Jesus teaches the disciples to love their enemies.
- Treat others as you want to be treated.
- Be kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor
Six Examples (v. 27-30)
Love your enemies…
Clipart by Fr. Richard Lonsdale © 2000.
SERMON WRITER: Jesus begins this section by saying, “Love your enemies,” and repeats that admonition in verse 35. In between, he gives concrete examples to illustrate what he means. He organizes these in two sets of three examples. These examples are organized for emphasis. By giving two sets of three examples, Jesus establishes a rhythm that captures our attention.
Only the most literal-minded person could read these SIX EXAMPLES without understanding that they could have been a thousand examples—or ten thousand.
• HATRED: “do good to those who hate you” (v. 27b).
• CURSING: “bless those who curse you” (v. 28a).
• ABUSE: “pray for those who mistreat you” (v. 28b).
• STRIKING A CHEEK: “To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well” (v. 29a).
• TAKING A COAT: “and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic” (v. 29b).
• TAKING GOODS: “Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.” (v. 30). (Some people count this as two examples rather than one.)
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FR. GEOFFREY PLANT: Words from what we could call the AGAPE (love) family occur 341 times and are found in every book of the New Testament. In the New Testament AGAPE is an attitude and mode of action rather than an emotion.
- A gracious, determined, and active interest in the true welfare of others;
- Desiring the other’s highest good.
- Putting oneself in the place of the other.
- Not deterred by hatred, cursing, or abuse.
- Seeks nothing for itself; it does not expect something in return.
ELEONORE STUMP: Many people suppose that
- no one except a saint could fulfill this command…[or that it is]
- permission to connive with evil, because if you love your enemy instead of clobbering him, you enable him to continue his wrongdoing.
But consider what love is. As Aquinas explains it, love consists in two desires: a desire for the good for the beloved person, and a desire for union with that person.
SERMON WRITER: [Thus,] the examples which Jesus provides to illustrate the word “love” are not directed at feelings but at actions. Jesus calls us to love (Greek: agape), but that does not mean that we must have warm and fuzzy feelings for those who mistreat us. Instead, we are to act in ways calculated to benefit the other person—to make that person’s welfare our concern.
FR. TONY KADAVIL: Jesus recommends, not merely a warm affection (philia), such as one might have for one’s family, or a passionate devotion (eros), such as one might expect between spouses, but a gracious, active interest (agape), in the welfare of precisely those persons who are antagonistic to us…Jesus not only commanded us to love our enemies, he also gave us the most vivid and awesome example of this type of love in action. While hanging on the cross, he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well
JAIME L. WATERS: We should notice that Jesus’ command is not to love injustice and ignore corruption. Jesus does not want us to accept abuse, tolerate racism or overlook the root causes of suffering in society. Rather, he wants us to be actively, creatively and mercifully engaged in preventing and solving the problems of the world. Today’s Gospel is not about passively acquiescing to corrupt forces, which is a misinterpretation of Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek.
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Golden Rule (v. 31)
Do to others as you would have
them do to you
🟠 ART CONNECTION
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The United Nation’s Golden Rule Mosaic
The United Nation’s Golden Rule mosaic was a creation of Venetian artists and was based on a painting by Norman Rockwell. Depicting people of all races, religion, creed and hue, the mosaic imparts the message to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS
Rejection of Reciprocity (v. 32-34)
What credit is that to you? Even sinners love (do good, lend) to those who do the same.
SERMON WRITER: Jesus again uses three examples:
- “If you love those…”
- “If you do good to those….”
- “If you lend to those….”
Jesus does not deny us the right to give good for good, but denies us special credit for doing so. Giving good for good is simply reciprocity, and reciprocity is not kingdom behavior. Even people who do not follow Christ give good for good. As Christ’s disciples, we are to give good whether we have received good or bad. We are not to be motivated by debts that we owe other people or that they owe us. Jesus calls for an end to such calculation. We are to break the cycle of calculation by giving good—period!
DR. KIERAN O’MAHONY: The argument here is an explicit rejection of reciprocity (“credit”, “doing good”). The argument is a syllogism with a step implied: “but more is expected of you” (technically an enthymeme). If those without the faith manage to that much, how much more…etc. When we do good to another, it can sometimes be in return for what we have received. At other times it can be done in the hope of getting something back. Or we may do it simply for the sake of doing good without any strings attached. Jesus suggests that this is when we are at our best.
Showing Mercy (v. 35-36)
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful
- You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48).
- Be merciful just as your Father is merciful (Lk 6:36).
- A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another (Jn 13:34).
As the children of our Divine Father through the spiritual rebirth of Christian baptism, we are expected to be like our Father in the way we behave and to pattern our lives after the life of the merciful, just, and loving Jesus Christ. A righteous and merciful God deserves righteous and merciful children.
SERMON WRITER: Here Jesus gives us the theological underpinnings of non-reciprocal behavior. We are to love, to do good, and to act generously, because we “will be children of the Most High.” As children of the Most High, our reward is great, because we are heirs to the kingdom. We get to live under the king’s roof and eat at the king’s table. We get to enter into the king’s presence and to enjoy the king’s protection. We become like the king, and develop regal manners. It is a life of privilege—a blessed life.
Evaluating Others (v. 37a)
SERMON WRITER: Judging (krinete) has to do with evaluating and forming opinions whether positive or negative. Condemning (katadikazete) is more negative and has to do with pronouncing guilt.
AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: In this teaching Jesus is not condemning us for judging sin in others; we must determine what constitutes sin to avoid falling into sin ourselves. Jesus gave the disciples instructions on dealing with a brother or sister within the faith community who sins in Matthew 18:15-17. And Proverbs 4:14-15 advises, Do not follow the path of the wicked, do not walk the way that the evil go. Avoid it, do not take it, turn your back on it, pass it by (NJB).
Also see what St. Paul wrote on the subject in Romans 2:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 5:12-13. We must judge sin to avoid it and condemn it, and we must be able to correct a fellow Christian who has fallen into sin to help our brother/sister and to protect both the Church and the quality of the Church’s Christian witness. However, we judge the sin and not the sinner. We do not judge the heart of the individual because we do not have that authority. Only God can judge hearts and souls. As for those who sin outside the covenant, when the authorities condemn those sins under civil law, we must cooperate with those authorities to protect society in general. While it is our Christian obligation to share the Gospel of truth with those who are not Christians and pray for their conversion, the final disposition of their souls is in God’s hands.
SERMON WRITER: As the church, we must address the reality of evil and teach our people to stand up for that which is right. We must teach our children to recognize right and wrong. We must avoid doing evil ourselves. To do these things, we must be able to identify good and evil. This involves making judgments. Living faithfully involves discernment. Perhaps the behavior that Jesus is proscribing here has to do with a mindset that is quick to pronounce judgments on other people—quick to assume God’s prerogatives.
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Forgiving Others (v. 37b)
Forgive and you shall be forgiven
LPI CONNECT: Many of us carry bitterness in our hearts toward someone who has hurt us. We may even dream of the day when we can get revenge on them. It is natural for us to want those who have hurt us to feel for themselves the pain they have inflicted on us. But revenge never gives us satisfaction. It only strengthens the hate and resentment within us. Our inability to forgive only gives those who hurt us more power over us. When we choose to forgive, we set ourselves free from the power of those who have hurt us. For that reason, forgiveness is really the ultimate revenge.
FR. EAMON TOBIN: In all of this, Jesus is our model. While dying on the cross, he forgave Pilate, the soldiers, the crowd who yelled, “Crucify him!”, and his disciples for abandoning him. Also, David models forgiveness for us in the first reading; and Paul, we assume, forgave all those who stoned him, beat him up, and spread nasty rumors about him.
Modern day disciples like Saint Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, and those who forgive the people who murdered their families all show us that with the grace of God we can forgive what seems unforgivable. The more we work at forgiving all who have hurt us, the more we will become like Jesus. We will become a living image of the compassionate and forgiving Christ in the world.
🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS
Our Reward (v. 38)
Give, and it will be given to you…
DR. KIERAN O’MAHONY: Jesus proposes the generosity of God as a model for our generosity, and says that the generous will be rewarded.
SERMON WRITER: [Our] reward is not only more than we have earned but more than we can manage. Packed tightly, it is too abundant for us to contain. It spills out of our largest container, and runs onto the floor. God will weigh our rewards on the scales which we have used to mete out our own generosity. God will measure us for the kingdom with the yardstick which we used to measure our neighbors.
FR. GEORGE SMIGA: The Christian life is not mathematics. It’s not about calculating all of our good deeds and weighing them against our sins. It is not about measuring ourselves against some perfect performance. This is why we must read the last line of today’s gospel, “The measure by which you measure shall be in turn be measured out to you” in light of Jesus’ words earlier in the passage. There he tells us to be merciful as our heavenly father is merciful. The Christian life is not about measuring one thing against another. It’s about imitating God, about being merciful to others because God is merciful to us. God does not desire to calculate our sins and achievements. God wants to change us so that we can love and show mercy even as God loves and shows mercy.
1st /2nd Reading Connection
Earthly vs. Heavenly Logic
AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: That God will redeem those who are faithful is the promise in today’s Second Reading. St. Paul writes that Jesus is the “second Adam.” We bear the physical image of the first Adam, and like him in death, we will return to the dust of the earth. But through God’s grace, Jesus, the “second Adam,” has redeemed the faithful from spiritual death. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we bear the image of the “heavenly Adam” who will one day return to make us like Himself in the resurrection of body and spirit… Jesus’ disciples are not to be ruled by human passions like King Saul. Instead, they are to demonstrate that love of God requires acts of love, compassion, and obedience like David who feared offending God more than he feared what Saul could do to harm him. The truth is that we all have it in us to be either a Saul who hates or a David who forgives in gratitude for God’s mercy and forgiveness toward him. The choice is entirely ours.
27. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
30. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
BEDE. Having spoken above of what they might suffer from their enemies, He now points out how they ought to conduct themselves towards their enemies, saying, But I say to you who hear.
AMBROSE. Having proceeded in the enumeration of many heavenly actions, He not unwisely comes to this place last, that He might teach the people confirmed by the divine miracles to march onward in the footsteps of virtue beyond the path of the law. Lastly, among the three greatest, (hope, faith, and charity,) the greatest is charity, which is commanded in these words, Love your enemies.
BASIL. (in reg. brev. 176.) It is indeed the part of an enemy to injure and be treacherous. Every one then who does harm in any way to any one is called his enemy.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But this way of life was well adapted to the holy teachers who were about to preach throughout the earth the word of salvation, and if it had been their will to take vengeance upon their persecutors, had failed to call them to the knowledge of salvation.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 18. in Matt.) But He says not, Do not hate, but love; nor did He merely command to love, but also to do good, as it follows, Do good to them which hate you.
BASIL. (ubi sup.) But because man consists of body and soul, to the soul indeed we shall do this good, by reproving and admonishing such men, and leading them by the hand to conversion; but to the body, by profiting them in the necessaries of life.
It follows, Bless them that curse you.
CHRYSOSTOM. For they who pierce their own souls deserve tears and weeping, not curses. For nothing is more hateful than a cursing heart, or more foul than a tongue which utters curses. O man, spit not forth the poison of asps, nor be turned into a beast. Thy mouth was given thee not to bite with, but to heal the wounds of others. But he commands us to count our enemies in the rank of our friends, not only in a general way, but as our particular friends for whom we are accustomed to pray; as it follows, Pray for them which persecute you. But many on the contrary falling down, and striking their faces upon the ground, and stretching forth their hands, pray God not for their sins, but against their enemies, which is nothing else but piercing their own selves. When thou prayest to Him that He would hear thee cursing thy enemies, who has forbidden thee to pray against thy enemies, how is it possible for thee to be heard, since thou art calling Him to hear thee by striking an enemy in the king’s presence, not with the hand indeed, but with thy words. What art thou doing, O man? thou standest to obtain pardon of your sins, and thou fillest thy mouth with bitterness. It is a time of forgiveness, prayer, and mourning, not of rage.
BEDE. But the question is fairly raised, how it is that in the prophets are to be found many curses against their enemies. Upon which we must observe, that the prophets in the imprecations they uttered foretold the future, and that not with the feelings of one who wishes, but in the spirit of one who foresees.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Now the old law commanded us not to injure one another; or if we are first injured, not to extend our wrath beyond the measure of the injurer, but the fulfilling of the law is in Christ and in His commands. Hence it follows, And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 18. in Matt.) For physicians also, when they are attacked by madmen, have then most compassion on them, and exert themselves to restore them. Have thou also a like consideration towards thy persecutors; for it is they who are under the greatest infirmity. And let us not cease until they have exhausted all their bitterness, they will then overpower thee with thanks, and God Himself will give thee a crown, because thou hast delivered thy brother from the worst disease.
BASIL. (in Esai. 1, 23. in App.) But we almost all of us offend against this command, and especially the powerful and rulers, not only if they have suffered insult, but if respect is not paid them, accounting all those their enemies who treat them with less consideration than they think they deserve. But it is a great dishonour in a prince to be ready to take revenge. For how shall he teach another, to return to no man evil for evil (Rom. 12:17.), if he is eager to retaliate on him who injures him.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But the Lord would moreover have us to be despisers of property. As it follows, And him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. For this is the soul’s virtue, which is altogether alien from feeling the pleasure of wealth. For it becomes him who is merciful even to forget his misfortunes, that we may confer the same benefits upon our persecutors, whereby we assist our dear friends.
CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) Now He said not, Bear humbly the rule of thy persecutor, but, Go on wisely, and prepare thyself to suffer what he desires thee to do; overcoming his insolence by thy great prudence, that he may depart with shame at thy excellent endurance.
But some one will say, How can this be? When thou hast seen God made man, and suffering so many things for thee, dost thou still ask and doubt how it is possible to pardon the iniquities of thy fellow servants? Who has suffered what thy God has, when He was bound, scourged, enduring to be spat upon, suffering death? Here it follows, But to every one who seeks, give.
AUGUSTINE. (de Serm. Dom. lib. 1. c. 20.) He says not, To him that seeketh give all things, but give what you justly and honestly can, that is, what as far as man can know or believe, neither hurts you, nor another: and if thou hast justly refused any one, the justice must be declared to him, (so as not to send him away empty,) sometimes thou wilt confer even a greater boon when thou hast corrected him who seeks what he ought not.
CHRYSOSTOM. Herein however we do not lightly err, when not only we give not to those who seek, but also blame them? Why (you say) does he not work, why is the idle man fed? Tell me, dost thou then possess by labour? but still if thou workest, dost thou work for this, that thou shouldest blame another? For a single loaf and coat dost thou call a man covetous? Thou givest nothing, make then no reproaches. Why dost thou neither take pity thyself, and dissuadest those who would? If we spend upon all indifferently, we shall always have compassion: for because Abraham entertains all, he also entertains angels. For if a man is a homicide and a robber, does he not, thinkest thou, deserve to have bread? Let us not then be severe censors of others, lest we too be strictly judged.
It follows, And of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 10. in 1 Cor.) Every thing we have we receive from God. But when we speak of “mine and thine,” they are only bare words. For if you assert a house to be yours, you have uttered an expression which wants the substance of reality. For both the air, the soil, and the moisture, are the Creator’s. Thou again art he who has built the house; but although the use is thine, it is doubtful, not only because of death, but also on account of the issues of things. Thy soul is not thy own possession, and will be reckoned to thee in like manner as all thy goods. God wishes those things to be thine which are entrusted to thee for thy brethren, and they will be thine if thou hast dispensed them for others. But if thou hast spent richly upon thyself what things are thine, they are now become another’s. But through a wicked desire of wealth men strive together in a state contrary to Christ’s words, And of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.
AUGUSTINE. (de Ser. Dom. lib. 1. c. 19.) He says this of garments, houses, farms, beasts of burdens, and generally of all property. But a Christian ought not to possess a slave as he does a horse or money. If a slave is more honourably governed by thee than by him who desires to take him from thee, I know not whether any one would dare to say, that he ought to be despised, as a garment (ut vestimentum.)
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 13. ad Pop. Ant.) Now we have a natural law implanted in us, by which we distinguish between what is virtue, and what is vice. Hence it follows, And as ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also to them. He does not say, Whatever ye would not that men should do unto you, do not ye. For since there are two ways which lead to virtue, namely, abstaining from evil, and doing good, he names one, signifying by it the other also. And if indeed He had said, That ye may be men, love the beasts, the command would be a difficult one. But if they are commanded to love men, which is a natural admonition, wherein lies the difficulty, since even the wolves and lions observe it, whom a natural relation compels to love one another. It is manifest then that Christ has ordained nothing surpassing our nature, but what He had long before implanted in our conscience, so that thy own will is the law to thee. And if thou wilt have good done unto thee, thou must do good to others; if thou wilt that another should shew mercy to thee, thou must shew mercy to thy neighbour.
32. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. i. in Col.) The Lord had said that we must love our enemies, but that you might not think this an exaggerated expression, regarding it solely as spoken to alarm them, he adds the reason, saying, For if you love them which love you, what thank have ye? There are indeed several causes which produce love; but spiritual love exceeds them all. For nothing earthly engenders it, neither gain, nor kindness, nor nature, nor time, but it descends from heaven. But why wonder that it needs not kindness to excite it, when it is not even overcome of malice? A father indeed suffering wrong bursts the bands of love. A wife after a quarrel leaves her husband. A son, if he sees his father come to a great age, is troubled. But Paul went to those who stoned him to do them good. (Acts 14:17) Moses is stoned by the Jews, and prays for them. (Exod. 17:4) Let us then reverence spiritual love, for it is indissoluble. Reproving therefore those who were inclined to wax cold, he adds, For sinners even love those which love them. As if he said, Because I wish you to possess more than these, I do not advise you only to love your friends, but also your enemies. It is common to all to do good to those who do good to them. But he shews that he seeks something more than is the custom of sinners, who do good to their friends. Hence it follows, And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thank have ye?
BEDE. But he not only condemns as unprofitable the love and kindness of sinners, but also the lending. As it follows, And if ye lend to those from whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
AMBROSE. Now philosophy seems to divide justice into three parts; one towards God, which is called piety; another towards our parents, or the rest of mankind; a third to the dead, that the proper rites may be performed. But the Lord Jesus passing beyond the oracle of the law, and the heights of prophecy, extended the duties of piety to those also who have injured us, adding, But love your enemies.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 58. in Gen.) Whereby thou wilt confer more upon thyself than him. For he is beloved by a fellow servant, but thou art made like unto God. But it is a mark of the greatest virtue when we embrace with kindness those who wish to do us harm. Hence it follows, And do good. For as water, when cast upon a lighted furnace, extinguishes it, so also reason joined with gentleness. But what water is to fire, such is lowliness and meekness to wrath; and as fire is not extinguished by fire, so neither is anger soothed by anger.
GREGORY OF NYSSA. (Orat. cont. usurar.) But man ought to shun that baneful anxiety with which he seeks from the poor man increase of his money and gold, exacting a profit of barren metals. Hence he adds, And lend, hoping for nothing again, &c. If a man should call the harsh calculation of interest, theft, or homicide, he will not err. For what is the difference, whether a man by digging under a wall become possessed of property, or possess it unlawfully by the compulsory rate of interest?
BASIL. (Hom. in Ps. 14.) Now this mode of avarice is rightly called in the Greek τόκος, from producing, because of the fruitfulness of the evil. Animals in course of time grow up and produce, but interest as soon as it is born begins to bring forth. Animals which bring forth most rapidly cease soonest from breeding, but the money of the avaricious goes on increasing with time. Animals when they transfer their bringing forth to their own young, themselves cease to breed, but the money of the covetous both produces an increase, and renews the capital. Touch not then the destructive monster. For what advantage that the poverty of to-day is escaped, if it falls upon us repeatedly, and is increased? Reflect then how canst thou restore thyself? Whence shall thy money be so multiplied as that it will partly relieve thy want, partly refresh thy capital, and besides bring forth interest? But thou sayest, How shall I get my living? I answer, work, serve, last of all, beg; any thing is more tolerable than borrowing upon interest. But thou sayest, what is that lending to which the hope of repayment is not attached? Consider the excellence of the words, and thou wilt admire the mercifulness of the author. When thou art about to give to a poor man from regard to divine charity, it is both a lending and a gift; a gift indeed, because no return is hoped for; lending, because of the beneficence of God, who restores it in its turn. Hence it follows, And great shall be your reward. Dost thou not wish the Almighty to be bound to restore to thee? Or, should He make some rich citizen thy security, dost thou accept him, but reject God standing as security for the poor?
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 3. in. Gen.) Observe the wonderful nature of lending, one receives and another binds himself for his debts, giving a hundred fold at the present time, and in the future eternal life.
AMBROSE. How great the reward of mercy which is received into the privilege of divine adoption! For it follows, And ye shall be the sons of the Highest (Ps. 82:6.). Follow then mercy, that ye may obtain grace. Widely spread is the mercy of God; He pours His rain upon the unthankful, the fruitful earth refuses not its increase to the evil. Hence it follows, For he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil.
BEDE. Either by giving them temporal gifts, or by inspiring His heavenly gifts with a wonderful grace.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Great then is the praise of mercy. For this virtue makes us like unto God, and imprints upon our souls certain signs as it were of a heavenly nature. Hence it follows, Be ye then merciful, as your heavenly Father also is merciful.
ATHANASIUS. (Orat. 3. cont. Arian.) That is to say, that we beholding His mercies, what good things we do should do them not with regard to men, but to Him, that we may obtain our rewards from God, not from men.
37. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38. Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
AMBROSE. The Lord added, that we must not readily judge others, lest when conscious of guilt thyself, thou shouldest be compelled to pass sentence upon another.
CHRYSOSTOM. Judge not thy superior, that is, thou a disciple must not judge thy master, nor a sinner the innocent. Thou must not blame them, but advise and correct with love; neither must we pass judgment in doubtful and indifferent matters, which bear no resemblance to sin, or which are not serious or forbidden.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. He here expresses that worst inclination of our thoughts or hearts, which is the first beginning and origin of a proud disdain. For although it becomes men to look into themselves and walk after God, this they do not, but look into the things of others, and while they forget their own passions, behold the infirmities of some, and make them a subject of reproach.
CHRYSOSTOM. You will not easily find any one, whether a father of a family or an inhabitant of the cloister, free from this error. But these are the wiles of the tempter. For he who severely sifts the fault of others, will never obtain acquittal for his own. Hence it follows, And ye shall not be judged. For as the merciful and meek man dispels the rage of sinners, so the harsh and cruel adds to his own crimes.
GREGORY OF NYSSA. Be not then rash to judge harshly of your servants, lest ye suffer the like. For passing judgment calls down a heavier condemnation; as it follows, Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned. For he does not forbid judgment with pardon.
BEDE. Now in a short sentence he concisely sums up all that he had enjoined with respect to our conduct towards our enemies, saying, Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven, wherein he bids us forgive injuries, and shew kindness, and our sins shall be forgiven us, and we shall receive eternal life.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But that we shall receive more abundant recompense from God, who gives bountifully to those who love him, he explains as follows, Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom.
THEOPHYLACT. As if he says, As when you wish to measure meal without sparing, you press it down, shake it together, and let it pour over abundantly; so the Lord will give a large and overflowing measure into your bosom.
AUGUSTINE. (de Qu. Ev. l. ii. q. 8.) But he says, shall they give, (Mat. 10:42.) because through the merits of those to whom they have given even a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, shall they be thought worthy to receive a heavenly reward. It follows, For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
BASIL. (Hom. in Ps. 61.) For according to the same measure with which each one of you metes, that is, in doing good works or sinning, will he receive reward or punishment.
THEOPHYLACT. But some one will put the subtle question, “If the return is made overabundantly, how is it the same measure?” to which we answer, that He said not, “In just as great a measure shall it be measured to you again, but in the same measure.” For he who has shewn mercy, shall have mercy shewn unto him, and this is measuring again with the same measure; but our Lord spoke of the measure running over, because to such a one He will shew mercy a thousand times. So also in judging; for he that judges and afterwards is judged receives the same measure. But as far as he was judged the more severely that he judged one like unto himself, was the measure running over.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But the Apostle explains this when he says, He who sows sparingly, (that is, scantily, and with a niggardly hand,) shall also reap sparingly, (2 Cor. 6:9.) (that is, not abundantly,) and he who sows blessings, shall reap also blessings, that is, bountifully. But if a man has not, and performs not, he is not guilty. For a man is accepted in that which he has, not in that which he has not.
SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.
FR. DAVID LINGWOOD (9:21) – 7th Sunday Ordinary Time (Year C) – King Saul is hunting his rival David with the intention of killing him. He camps for the night. Under the cover darkness, David and his nephew sneak into his camp. Saul is asleep and unprotected. How will the two intruders act? This decision will be critical for David’s future.
1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
Though the Lord delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm you
- Consumed with jealousy, Saul and three thousand men head into the desert searching for David.
- When given the opportunity, David does not harm Saul because he is God’s anointed.
- The Lord will reward the just and faithful.
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor
[David] found Saul lying asleep…
AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: In the dark, David and his nephew Abishai make their way into the king’s camp where they discover him sleeping soundly.
Let me nail [Saul] to the ground with one thrust of the spear
AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: Abishai suggests that God has put Saul into David’s hands and offers to kill his uncle’s mortal enemy. Abishai’s boast that it will only take one blow to “pin him to the ground” with Saul’s spear recalls when Saul twice tried to “pin David to the wall” with the same spear (1 Sam 18:11 and 19:10).
The Advice of Loyal Friends Can Sometimes Get Us Into Trouble
Do not harm him
AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: David resists the temptation and forbids his nephew to raise his hand against Yahweh’s anointed king of Israel. Abishai is apparently so shocked by his uncle’s refusal that David feels it is necessary to explain to him that God will judge Saul, and his death is in God’s hands. David fears offending God more than what his enemy can do to him or his family, and David, who is also God’s anointed (1 Sam 16:1, 12-13), trusts God with his destiny (verse 10).
To offer proof that he could have taken Saul’s life, David takes his spear and the water jug lying by his head. Perhaps David takes the spear because he is fearful that it would be too much of a temptation for the impetuous Abishai to have it in his hands. It is an action similar to cutting a piece of Saul’s cloak (1 Sam 24:5, 12) when David also resisted the temptation to kill his enemy. No one in the camp awoke because God caused all the soldiers to remain sleeping. The Lord has again intervened directly to aid David.
Clipart by Fr. Richard Lonsdale © 2000. Click image to view more clipart for this Sunday.
What if Our Enemy is an Authority Figure?
Going across to an opposite slope,
David stood on a remote hilltop
WORD-SUNDAY (3:17) – Larry Broding
Studying God’s Word
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We continue with Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain which we began in last Sunday’s Gospel. We heard then that “blessed are you when men hate you” (verse 22). • Although there is no command in the Old Testament that we are to hate our enemies (Matthew 5:43), love of neighbor was understood as being applied primarily to one’s countrymen (see Leviticus 19:18, Psalm 139:19-22). Jesus, as he does elsewhere, shifts this limited perception of love outwards to even our enemies (see Luke 10:29-37. See also Romans 12:9-21 and 1 John 4:7-11). • Jesus reminds them of the Golden Rule (verse 31. See Tobit 4:15; Sirach 31:15). Jesus himself is the supreme example of his own teachings (see Luke 23:34) and expects his disciples to obey and imitate him—as many will (see Acts 7:60).
- In the first reading, why does David spare Saul’s life, even though Saul was seeking to kill him? Since Saul was his enemy, would David have been justified in killing him when Saul was asleep and basically helpless? In light of this week’s gospel reading, why or why not?
- In the second reading, the contrast is made between the “earthly” man (in the model of Adam) and the spiritual man (renewed in Jesus Christ)? Which are we supposed to imitate? How do we do that?
- Comparing the Old Testament and the New Testament, why has Jesus made a shift in the object of love (Leviticus 19:18)? What specifically are we to do to enemies? • Since applying verses 29-30 literally could reinforce someone’s bad behavior, what is Jesus’ point (see vv 31 and 36)?
- What activities does Jesus condemn and commend (vv 37-38)? What does the promise (v. 38) mean in the context?
- Does verse 37 say that we should love others before God will love us? Why or why not? If the principle in verses 37-38 holds true, what happens to you if you fail to forgive those who offend you? Under what conditions, then, will you yourself be forgiven?
- How does this description of love challenge you? How can that be a model for relating to someone you find difficult? Have you ever shown love to an enemy? How?
SOURCE: Sunday Scripture Study by Vince Contreras, Used with Permission
FR. EAMON TOBIN
Sharing God’s Word
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1. Turn to the person next to you and share what verse in the Gospel caught your attention. The facilitator can decide which is more helpful: to share the next questions with the whole group, or to share in smaller groups of three or four.
2. Jesus tells us first to stop judging, then condemning and finally forgive. It is as if he is pointing out our sins so we can be more merciful. Do you judge and/or condemn?
3. Why are some people able to forgive huge hurts (e.g., murder of a loved one) while many of us are unable or unwilling to forgive much lesser hurts?\
4. What are blocks and helps to forgiving life’s hurts?
5. Have you ever had to forgive God or church? If so, what helped you to do this?
6. What is the one thing Jesus is saying to us in this Sunday’s Gospel about how a disciple should speak or act?
SOURCE: Commentaries on the Lectionary by Fr. Eamon Tobin (1947-2021), Used with Permission
Let us now pause to see how something(s) said in the reading might lead us into shared prayer.
“Dear Lord, I trust in you, yet I am still disappointed or dumbfounded when I fail others or others fail me – please give me a heart to love like you in betrayal.” “Please help me to change my perception of ‘blessed’ for both myself and others to Jesus ‘perception.”
SOURCE: Commentaries on the Lectionary by Fr. Eamon Tobin (1947-2021), Used with Permission
FR. CLEMENT D. THIBODEAU
Echoing God’s Word
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No reflection available for the 7th and 8th Sundays in Ordinary Time (Year C)