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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 7th (C) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Sam 26:2.7-9.12-13.22-23): In those days, Saul went down to the desert of Ziph with three thousand picked men of Israel, to search for David in the desert of Ziph. So David and Abishai went among Saul’s soldiers by night and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade, with his spear thrust into the ground at his head and Abner and his men sleeping around him. Abishai whispered to David: «God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!». But David said to Abishai, «Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the Lord’s anointed and remain unpunished?».

So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul’s head, and they got away without anyone’s seeing or knowing or awakening. All remained asleep, because the Lord had put them into a deep slumber. Going across to an opposite slope, David stood on a remote hilltop at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops. He said: «Here is the king’s spear. Let an attendant come over to get it. The Lord will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness. Today, though the Lord delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the Lord’s anointed».
Responsorial Psalm: 102
R/. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the Lord, o my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.

Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
2nd Reading (1Cor 15:45-49): Brothers and sisters: It is written, The first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 13:34): Alleluia. I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 6,27-38): Jesus said to his disciples, «I say to you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who treat you badly. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have others do to you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of graciousness is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favors to those who are good to you, what kind of graciousness is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of graciousness is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting to receive something in return.

But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For He is kind towards the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Don't be a judge of others 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, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back».

«Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful»

Fr. Josep Miquel BOMBARDÓ (Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we hear our Lord saying some words that invite us to live the Christian Charity as fully as He did («Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’»: Lk 23:34). This has been the bearing of our brothers preceding us to the glory of Heaven and Saints, for they tried to live a model of Christian Charity with loving perfection, following what Jesus Christ had said: «Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect» (Mt 5:48).

Charity urges us to love, in the first place, those who love us. It is not possible to abide by what we read in the Gospel if we do not sincerely love our brothers, those next to us. But, right away, Christ's new commandment calls us to reach to the perfection of Charity, and encourages us to open our arms to all men, to those who do not belong amongst ourselves, or who want to offend or hurt us in someway. Jesus is exhorting us to have a Heart like His, like his Father's: «Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful» (Lk 6:36), a heart that knows no borders, that welcomes everybody, and invites us to forgive and pray for our enemies.

However, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms, «it is not possible to observe the Commandments of our Lord if we are trying to follow the Divine model only from the outside. It must be a vital participation, that comes all the way from deep inside our heart, in sanctity, in mercifulness and in the love of God». Blessed Newman wrote: «O Jesus! Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly, that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours (...). That every soul, we come in contact with, may feel Your presence in our soul. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You, none of it will be ours. It will be You shining on others through us».

We shall love, forgive and embrace others only if our heart is magnified by our love for Christ.