Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 20th February 2022

Luke 6:27-38

‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

‘Do not judge, 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. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’


Today’s Gospel reading in fact is the continuation of St. Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. The first part of the version was read in the last Sunday’s Gospel.

Jesus began the preaching with the words “I say to you that listen”, which means that this preaching is to those who were willing to learn from him because there were others in the audience who were already opposed to what he did and said.

Love your enemies was a command, startling at that time, when a man was not a man unless he avenged himself of his enemy. It is still a command which human nature cannot fulfill without divine grace.

The application of the command of loving your enemies is not in theory but in practice. That is to return your enemies good for evil. Ask God to bless and forgive those who wish you evil, and do you evil in your person and in your property.

It is not a simple request that one’s stolen property should be returned, but the forceful retaking of it. Charity, real love of neighbor, is show especially in our interest in his spiritual welfare. The loss of our personal honour or property is a small price to pay for the eternal welfare of a neighbor.

It is the golden rule that do to others as you would have them do to you. Love all others as we love ourselves – if we do we shall never fail in charity. Of we love those who love us, we area acting from personal interest here. However, if our motive in helping our neighbour is unselfish, moved by real and true love for that neighbor, we will be reward3d and greatly so. Further, we will be true children of God who is good and kind to the ungrateful and he sinner.

Jesus asks us to leave judgment and condemnation to the only one who knows all the facts, God. He will see very many redeeming qualities in the behavior of those who to us appear absolutely evil. And very important for ourselves, our judge will be lenient to us if we have shown leniency.

Finally, Jesus reminds us that God can never be outdone in generosity. If we are generous toward out neighbor, God will be infinitely more generous toward us. If we act meanly and ungenerously we cannot expect generosity when the of reckoning comes.

I would at first sight appear that the demands that Jesus makes on our charity here are anything but easy. Loving one’s enemies is asking a lot. Blessing them and praying for them might be all right for St. Francis, but expecting it of us seems to be going very far. Asking for a blow on the second cheek while the first is still feeling with pain seems fit only for a martyr. Not to try to take back what was stolen from us looks vey foolish. Yet it was Jesus who made all these demands.

Before we give up in despair, and decide that this type of Christianity is not for us, let us look a little more closely at the demands that are made. To love our enemy does not mean we must throw our arms about him every time we meet him. It means we must do all in our power to rid our minds of any hatred of him, and try to see the good that is in him. Not judging and condemning comes under this heading. Human sinful beings that we are, our faculty of seeing in our neighbor the real man as he is before God, is very limited and very prone to error.

Not demanding back what was unjustly taken from us does not mean that we may not have recourse to the legal or other means available to us for obtaining compensation in such cases. What it does forbid is personal restoration of our rights and property with force.

If someone offends us, he offends God which is much more serious. Our charity should help him to seek God’s forgiveness. Our chief interest in our neighbour must therefore be a spiritual interest. We would like our neighbour to help us to reach heaven. “You go and do likewise” to your neighbour, and you will both get there. Amen.