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 life of a Christian believer is totally configured into the life of Christ. He or she is called to be another Christ and to live a witnessing life. This witnessing life begins with our simple sharing, sharing what the Lord has given to us. If I have a gift of signing, I sign for the Lord and glorify the Lord by my beautiful voice. Thus this giving is not from nothing, rather what we have already received, and a reciprocity behaviour.
We are all limited and very often we fail in what we wish and desire to be. It is from this personal experience of our own fragility and vulnerability, we are called to associate others with us and to understand them as a pilgrim, who is marching towards the perfection. Just like you and me, they too are in need of the support and understanding.
Be merciful towards them and forgive them when they fail, are not the commandments imposed, rather a reminder to our own status of life which is narrowly related to our own divine identity and nature. We have received a lot and what we give is from what we have received. The more we empty ourselves in this giving or forgiving, the more God is going to fill our emptiness. If we refuse to empty (give or forgive), even if God is over generous, this generosity won’t touch our interiority. With this philosophy of life, if we re-read today’s gospel, you will understand the richness and the practicality of the message.
«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...?