By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.
The Gospel for Thursday of Week 23 is a challenging statement about Christian love. We are to love everyone. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who do us harm. We are to treat everyone the way we want to be treated. We are to lend without expecting a return. We are not to judge or condemn anyone (Luke 6:27-38).
We have heard these things many times, and each time we may wonder: Who can live like that? Perhaps we can’t, with our own power and resources. We always fall short of the ideal, and we lean on the mercy of God.
We need to recall that God treats us that way,loving us unconditionally. When we fall short, when we get angry, or hold grudges, or cling to bitterness, God continues to show us mercy and encourages us to move beyond those things, to get up and keep walking and try again.
Key to the Gospel passage is when Jesus tells us, “The measure with which you measure will in turn be measured out to you.” In other words, Jesus tells us to take an overview of our lives, perhaps each day. We are to start out with a way of “measuring” our relationships and our actions from a standpoint of gratitude, acceptance, and willingness to forgive — and not to wait for something to happen before we react.
This may be another form of those famous words of Blessed Solanus: “Thank God ahead of time,” no matter what the future holds.