“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord; love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34
Today’s Gospel is a tall order. Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, and if someone takes your cloak, give them your tunic as well.
Reminds me of John Lennon’s utopian—and boundaries-free—“Imagine”… “imagine all the people living’ life in peace… nothing to kill or die for…. And no religion, too.”
No religion. Really?
My “Imagine” goes this way: Imagine a world in which we practice Jesus’ religion of compassion and contradict (even flagrantly violate) our more predictable codes of behavior. Here’s an example: You’re sitting in the parking lot with your brand new car. Haven’t even made the first payment on it yet. Then someone drives up and parks right next to you, opens the door with brio, and puts a nice dent in your shiny new vehicle. Eyes meet. What do you do?
Imagine the most ridiculously generous and totally unexpected thing you could do for the door slammer. Imagine what you would want someone to do to you if you were the offending party. Searching for clues, I think of Luke 6:36: “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” Does that mean being a pushover or someone who is robotically compassionate? I don’t think so, even though I myself have to deal at times with typical “first reactions” that I wouldn’t want broadcast anywhere.
Friend, the Kingdom of God arrives on planet earth when we contradict our normal and maybe even fair-minded ways. I believe that what motivates us to rethink the thorns of life has something to do with wanting to be a better person—God-like if you will—and becoming worthy of salvation in Christ. His promise after all—“Forgive and you will be forgiven”—is a really good place to start. Let me know how you do.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Lance Nadeau, M.M.
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lord Jesus, from the cross
You asked the Father to forgive those
who hated You and wanted You dead.
Help me follow Your example
and fulfill Your commandment
especially when I lack the will or
desire to forgive those who harm me
or wish me ill.
Help me to at least imitate You
by praying for my enemies when
I lack the desire to forgive them myself.
Remind me of my own faults and failings
when I too stood in need of forgiveness
and help me surrender all thoughts
of resentment and vengeance
to make room in my mind and heart
for Your most amazing grace.
I stand before Your most glorious
throne of Mercy and fervently pray
for all who have wronged me
that I might be free from all unhealthy
thoughts of getting even or paying back.
I commend my wounded past to Your
healing presence and merciful heart
that with Your saints, I too might one day
enjoy the company of the saints In the light of Christ forever.
Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.