YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 7TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: TO LOVE AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO HURT US : A REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE FOR CHANGING THE WORLD.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
HOMILY: GOSPEL: LUKE 6:27-38
“You have enemies. For who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves: love them. In no way can your enemy so hurt you by his violence, as you hurt yourself if you love him not”.- St. Augustine
My dearest people of God, I gladly welcome you to this Eucharistic celebration of the seventh Sunday in the ordinary time. May God fill us with the grace and strength to treat our enemies with love and forgive those who hate us.
~The readings of today are linked together by one main theme: the power of Christian love when exercised in unconditional forgiveness by the believing community of forgiven sinners. The readings also instruct us about our right and wrong choices. The right choices lead us to God, and the wrong ones break our relationship with Him and with one another.
~More than any time else in the history of mankind is the demands of Christian love and forgiveness more urgent than in this present age of violence. It has become, as a matter of urgent Christian responsibility, that we Christians embrace the gospel teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ on the love of enemies and make the right choices in life especially the choice to do good, to love and forgive.
~In the first reading, David demonstrated a true Christian spirit; the kind of spirit that can hardly be found in this present world of vegeance.David exemplifies the teaching of our Lord in the gospel of today. David had the best opportunity to strike his enemy -Saul, but never did. He did not set a trap for saul, but because Saul made a wrong choice trying to inflict harm on David, God delivered him into the hands of the one he seeks to destroy. How often you seek to harm others only to be put at their disposal? Did you pay extra attention to David’s comment:” for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished ?”. What a devout man!!. In our world of anticlericalism, this sounds like a great instruction and reminder to us all.
~In the second reading, St. Paul tells us how the “First Adam” made a wrong choice of disobedience, bringing death into the world, whereas Jesus, the “Second Adam,” made the correct choice of fulfilling his Father’s saving plan.The Choices we make defines our character, our way of life, our successes and failures in life.
~The teachings of our Lord in the gospel of today are those “hard to accept teachings”. These are the teachings that define and differentiates a Christian form a none Christian. Difficult as they might sound, they embody the whole idea of Christian life and virtue. These revolutionary moral teachings of Christ about correct choices in our human relationships, places special emphasis on the golden rule, “ Do to others as you would have them do to you” , makes us truly Christians. This golden rule is amplified by a string of particular commands: ” Love your enemies…Do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you.”
~My dearest we live in a time of vengeance, when many do not care about the feelings of others. The human person in this age has been so exposed to violent behaviours that has become a dominant form of reaction among many today. In our homes, children play video games and learn from tender age how to attack and destroy their virtual enemies. Addictions to these
games have not only impacted on the emotional feelings and thinking of these little ones but has created a behavioural pattern that deeply influences their actions in the real world, especially in their relationship with peers. Parents please censor the games they play!!. As adults, we are not even free. We have experienced and seen so much pains and suffering in the world. And worst still, the movies we watch daily have also impacted so much negative influence on our psyche making us believe and think that whoever does wrong must duely be punished, what I call an ideology that unhpolds: ” our enemies must surely suffer for hurting us, evil people must die, they deserve no mercy” . As Christians, we have the responsibility to condemn and not to condone evil. Those who perpetrate evil against others must receive a just recompense for their actions, that is why the human law exists; the law ensures justice and justice here means that people are not punished beyond the limits of what is reasonably just for a particular offence committed. Jungle justice which is becoming the order of the day especially in many developing nations of the world where the rule of law is not respected, represents the unfortunate and monstrous spirit of vengeance taking flesh in human culture. Christians must condemn any form of jungle justice and distance themselves from it. Do not revenge for vengeance is God’s (cf. Rm 12:19) As Christians, we must not take laws into our hands. We have to show love even to those who have done wrong; ensuring that they are giving another opportunity to repay the harm done and not to face capital punishment. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” -Marthin Luther King Jr.
It is your choice to forgive those who hurt you badly. You can in the spirit of the gospel remember we are all sinners and therefore should not be too fast in judging or condenming others ( taking them to court or handing them over to Police) there are issues that can best be handled and settled amicably out of court or without the Police. Do not forget , ” for the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
~My dearest, love is an attitude that seeks another’s good. Jesus orders us to love our enemies and to be merciful as God our Father is merciful. Jesus challenges us to do for others what God has done for us. “ Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.” He concludes by instructing us to stop judging and start forgiving. Do you still believe that the sinner deserve some
compassion? If you were David in the first reading what would you done to Saul?answer honestly.
We need to practice grace-filled behaviour: What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion is the quality known as grace, i.e., God’s own life working in us, so that we are able to treat others, not as they deserve, but with love, kindness and mercy. God is good to the unjust as well as to the just. Hence, our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. His love conquers our hurts, fears, prejudices and grief. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment, and give us the courage to return good for evil.
~We need to pray for the strength to forgive. At every Mass, we pray the “Our Father”, asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. Our challenge is to overcome our natural inclination to hate family members, co-workers, neigbours etc. who offend us. To meet that challenge, we need to ask God for the strength to forgive each other. We must forgive because only forgiveness truly heals us. If we remember how God has forgiven us, it will help us forgive others. Let us start forgiving right now by curbing the sharp tongue of criticism, suppressing the revenge instinct and tolerating the irritating behaviour of a neighbour.
May the holy spirit take control of our lives and make us truly spirit filled Christians, who will live out the gospel precepts amidst the challenges and difficulties of modern life. May God strengthen you as you resolve to forgive, to heal and to love those who hurt you. You will gain more grace if you do.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi.