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Rough Cuts: He who showed us the way

Today is Sunday, February 24, 2019. It is the fourth Sunday of the month but is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Catholic Church liturgical and sanctoral calendar.
This day’s Psalm is, “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
This Sunday’s 1st Reading is from 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23. It says:
On hearing this, Saul went down with three thousand picked men of Israel to the desert of Ziph in search of David.
So, that night, David and Abishai went into the camp and found Saul sleeping in the center, his spear thrust into the ground at his head, while Abner and the rest of the soldiers were sleeping around him. Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hands this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not repeat it.” But David answered Abishai, “Do not harm him. For who could harm Yahweh’s anointed and not be punished?”
So David took the spear and the water jug from near Saul’s head and they left. Nobody saw, nobody knew, nobody woke up. All remained asleep, for a deep sleep from Yahweh had fallen on them.
On the opposite slope David stood at a distance, on top of the hill.
David answered, “I have your spear with me, O king! Let one of your servants come over to fetch it. Yahweh rewards a righteous and loyal man. Today he delivered you into my hands but I refused to harm Yahweh’s anointed.”
Today’s 2nd Reading is from 1 Corinthians 15:45-49.
Scripture says that Adam, the first man, became a living being; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.
The spirit does not appear first, but the natural life, and afterwards comes the spirit. The first man comes from the earth and is earthly, while the second one comes from heaven. As it was with the earthly one, so is it with the earthly people. As it is with Christ, so with the heavenly. This is why, after bearing the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.
This Sunday’s Gospel is taken from Luke 6:27-38. It says:
But I say to you who hear me: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks, and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have others do unto you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favors to those who are good to you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of grace is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting something to receive in return.
But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For he is kind toward the ungrateful and the wicked. 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.
READ: David won a victory over his enemy, not through revenge but through mercy. St. Paul shows how Jesus, the new man, shows the way to a new humanity. Jesus shows the way to this new humanity in a system of ethics that replaces judgment with love.
REFLECT: It is easy to love people who are lovable. But how are we to love people who are disagreeable or even “unlovable”? How are we to love our enemies? The love that Jesus describes is not a feeling, nor is it based on the merits of the one we love. Love is active, it is a matter of the will; it is choice to return good for evil, mercy for those who treat us badly. Not because they “deserve it,” but because we aspire to be true sons and daughters of the God whose very nature is Love, whose very name is Mercy.
NB: We thank the Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc., publisher of the book Bible Diary 2019 from where we source the Word of God that we share with our fellow faithful every Sunday. This is our own way of helping bring God’s ministry to as many people possible that our column can reach and be read during this day.

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