The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
February 20th, 2022, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 6:27-38
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
I’m no economist, but I do know what a balanced sheet is. Basically, it is an accounting way that is based on principles of justice, fairness and equality. They help one spend only as much as one can afford. They encourage paying bills in time. And if possible, save a little for the inevitable rainy day. This approach is not only sound economics, but it’s also a good and virtuous way to live.
So let’s ask whether Jesus would support this approach to life, i. e., one based on financial justice. In reading today’s gospel, it seems he would not. He calls us to do more than simple justice would require. He wants of us boundless generosity and a kind of love for others that some might judge foolish, excessive, even unrealistic.
Nevertheless, if you accept his words in today’s gospel, you cannot avoid the conclusion that simple justice is not enough. We are called to do more.
Jesus asks us to love our enemies and do good to those who hurt us. How easy is that? Nor is his request that we don’t hit back if we are hit. (Try to sell that one to any nations’ defence department.) And if you lend something to another in need, don’t request repayment. That’s too no small matter. I can’t imagine a financial planner recommending that!
And it is also in today’s gospel that we find the so-called Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Or if you prefer the old translation, do unto others … . Or as put in a very contemporary translation of the Bible entitled The Message: “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them,” There are many ways to say the same challenging thing.
Religion scholars note that some version of the Golden Rule is found in all major religions. Therefore, it is deeply part of what separates people of God from the godless. It should be a basic rule for everyone who considers themselves religious or spiritual.
Deep altruistic and forgiving love of others, friend or foe, is at the center of what it means to be holy – something we are all invited to be. And deep down, Jesus says we should all love with a generous and forgiving heart because that’s the way God treats us.
©David M. Thomas, PhD