What a Challenge!
(7thSunday: 1 Samuel 26:2-23; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Luke 6:27-38)
At La Salette, Mary reminded us of our obligation to honor the Lord’s Name and the Lord’s Day (Mass and rest), to respect the discipline of Lent, and to pray. These are all included in her call to submit.
There is ample material here for an examination of conscience. But today’s Gospel helps us to understand that doing what the Beautiful Lady asks is just the beginning.
Jesus makes it clear that he expects much more of his disciples than the observance of the Law. The commandments are the foundation, not the whole structure. Some of his listeners must have thought he was going too far in requiring a peaceful, even submissive attitude, towards their enemies. In our time, too, it is not easy to accept such demands.
Does our faith make us better persons? In the first reading we find an excellent model in David. His faith in the God of Israel never wavered. So, when he had the opportunity to destroy his mortal enemy, King Saul, he showed him mercy instead, rather than strike the Lord’s anointed.
This is what the world needs today. It’s what the world has always needed, and will always need. There never was and can never be an excess of charity, that love that is poured into our hearts by God. It will never be perfect or complete, because, as St. Paul says in the second reading, we bear the earthly image of the earthly man, Adam.
We need not be discouraged, however. We are never beyond God’s power to forgive. We can, by God’s grace, bear the image of the heavenly man, Jesus Christ.
At the same time, we must not be complacent, as though our thoughts and words and actions really do not matter to God. The Lord knows what we think and say and do, but he also knows our hearts. For example, when we carry out Jesus’ command, “Give to everyone who asks of you,” is our motive pure?
Oh, the challenge of being faithful and faith-filled! With all our heart, let us pray the words of today’s opening prayer: “Grant that we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you.”
Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse