Jesus said to his disciples, «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».
The gospel message is simple. However I would like to propose to my readers to look into the reason that Jesus gives for this perfection of life. Though good if we apply these requirements, humanly we will agree that it is not easy to put all in practice.
Once we understand the reason that Jesus gives, things will be clear. First of all, Jesus is telling us that we are the children of God and carry in us this divine identity. Jesus in truth is asking each and every one of us to be simply as we are. He is asking a cat to be cat and a tiger to be tiger. In all divine relationship the mercy, forgiveness and justice are the integral and imperative ingredients.
People those who have realised this divine identity in them, have lived this divine life on this earth, in their human life. All those who came closer to them have seen and experienced the presence of God in them. Through them, they listened to God and were consoled by God.
Many of us give to receive. Some of us give to human beings, to our brothers and sisters, to receive the divine grace. But very few, like saints who give what they have received. Every Christian is called to give what we have already received from God and the more our pockets get emptied, the more God refills them. Do you believe this? Why don’t you try?
A Daily Quote for Lent:
The Practice of Mercy, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"The practice of mercy is twofold: when vengeance is sacrificed and when compassion is shown. The Lord included both of these in his brief sentence: 'Forgive, and you shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given to you.' This work has the effect of purifying the heart, so that, even under the limitations of this life, we are enabled with pure mind to see the immutable reality of God. There is something holding us back, which has to be loosed so that our sight may break through to the light. In connection with this the Lord said, 'Give alms, and behold, all things are clean to you.' Therefore the next and sixth step is that cleansing of the heart." (excerpt from Letter 171A.2)
«Give and it will be given to you»
+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret
(Vic, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, Luke's Gospel proclaims a short and dense message —very short, indeed!— that can be summarized in two points: a frame of mercy and a contents of justice.
Firstly, a frame of mercy. Jesus' command, indeed, prevails as a rule and shines all around. A most definite norm: if our Father in Heaven is merciful, we, as his children, ought to be merciful, too. And our Father is so merciful...! The previous verse asserts: «(...) And you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked» (Lk 6:35).
Secondly, a contents of justice. We are, indeed, facing some kind of “Talion Law”, the direct opposite to the one banned by Jesus («Eye for eye, tooth for tooth»). Here, in four successive moments, our Divine Teacher exhorts us, first, through two denials; later, with two affirmations. Denials: «Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned». Affirmations: «forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you».
Let's apply these premises concisely to our daily's life, as Jesus does, by stopping especially on the fourth point. Let's examine, clearly and courageously, our conscience: if in family, cultural, economic and political matters Our Lord would judge and condemn our world as the world judges and condemns, who would stand up in his Tribunal? (When we get back home and read the newspaper or listen to the news, we are basically thinking of the world of politics). If Our Lord would forgive us as we, men, normally use to do, how many persons and institutions would reach full reconciliation?
The fourth point deserves, however, an additional thought, as the good Talion Law we are considering, becomes overcome in some way. Indeed, if we give, shall we be given in the same measure? Most definitely not! If we give, we shall receive —let's take good note of it— «a good measure, pressed down, full and running over» (Lk 6:38). And it is in the light of that blessed disproportion that we are exhorted to previously give. Let's ask ourselves: how much do I give, do I give properly, do I give enough, do I give by choosing the best, do I give fully...?