Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time, September 10
May the Holy Spirit Fill Our Hearts with Compassion and Understanding, So That Nothing May Disturb Our Peace, Take Away Our Joy, or Make Us Bitter towards Any of God’s Children.
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” And then, Jesus goes on to say, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Wouldn’t this be a wonderful world in which we live if everyone, regardless of ethnicity, race, color, creed, political or religious persuasion, lived by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
As we reflect upon the culture in which we live today, life sometimes can become a real challenge, especially when we read about all the unrest that is currently taking place in many cities of the world!
On a more local level, for those of us who are old enough and can remember all the way back to our childhood, to those years long ago when we were taught to be courteous and to respect our elders, they were simpler times – a time when virtue was a way of life, a time when prayer and religious values were expected in our schools and our governmental institutions, a time when we placed our hand on the Holy Bible and swore to tell the truth in our courtrooms.
It was a time when movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, “Miracle on 34th Street” with Maureen O’Hara, and so many others were the norm – and sexuality was a topic only discussed in the home, and censorship was based upon the Christian principles of decency and wholesome moral values.
Today, life is so much different, and life can be so much more difficult for our children as they grow up in a society which has almost no taboos, a society which has almost lost all sense of morality and decency!
Violence on the streets of many of our cities has become more and more common, as the respect for life and the respect for each other’s dignity has disintegrated to the point where living Christian values is considered a sign of weakness.
And yet, our Lord is reminding us today that, if we are to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, we are to “…love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” And, if we do this, our Lord promises us, “…your reward will be great” in Heaven.
When one does not have Christ at the center of his or her life, it is very difficult to live a life which is filled with love, compassion and understanding, especially when one finds him or herself victimized in a godless culture.
Long ago, during a period in my life while I was serving in the military, I was a shift supervisor for a couple of years at a military prison. There were numerous instances when hate, pure hate, would fill the walls and the cells of the prison, and the prisoners would provoke confrontations with the guards.
It was an environment in which one’s moral values oftentimes took a back seat to dealing with anger and rage, and what could only be described as imperfect justice was sometimes the norm to ensure one’s personal protection and safety.
I know that the virtues with which I was raised and taught during my youth ended up being in short supply, for, within this prison environment, being Christ-like was the furthest thing from any of our minds. We were more focused on survival and imperfect justice rather than charity and love.
In hindsight, I could say that my faith was not as strong as I thought it was. And, as a result, the Golden Rule was something which was not practiced very often in this seemingly unholy environment in which I was immersed so long ago.
I can now look back on those years and realize that Christ was not in the center of my life. It was a time of selfishness and pride. And when these vices become our core values upon which we live our lives, then virtue becomes a distraction; virtue itself become a weakness, and we are not able to recognize the flaws in our own way of thinking and acting – as is the case in the behavior of those who cause violence and mayhem in today’s cities.
And Paul warns us in our First Reading today, “…the weak person is brought to destruction.” And, “When you sin in this way against your brothers…you are sinning against Christ.”
Compassion, love, mercy and understanding – these are all virtues which unite us as brothers and sisters in Christ, which unite us as sons and daughters under the Merciful Love of our Heavenly Father.
And when these virtues become weak or lacking within us, then we need to turn to God with the prayer of today’s psalmist, “Probe me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; See if my way is crooked, and lead me in the way of old” – in the way of holiness.
Our Lord reminds us today that the love and kindness we show towards others will be returned to us by a God who will not be outdone in His generosity, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.”
Let us pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit, that He may fill our hearts with compassion and understanding, that He may set our hearts free with His Merciful Love, and that nothing – nothing may make us lose our temper, disturb our peace, take away our joy, or make us bitter towards any of God’s children!
And may God’s redeeming and most Merciful Love guide each of us to always “…do to others as [we] would have them do to [us].”
For as Jesus reminds us today, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
- “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
- “Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my thoughts. See if there is a wicked path in me; lead me along an ancient path.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
- “There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now…Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ.” (1 Corinthians 8:7b, 11-12)
- “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
- “…we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (1 Corinthians 6:1-2 ~ Isaiah 49:8abc)
- “…rather, love your enemies and do good to them…then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High…” (Luke 6:35acd)
- “Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
- “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
- “…let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body…And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15a, 17)
- “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:38)
Prayer for the Day
“Faithful and Merciful Lord,
You suffered and endured death for me;
You have consummated the debt of my sins;
Your sacrifice of forgiveness was absolute!
“Grant me the strength to also forgive others,
to excuse their transgressions against me.
So that I may truly reflect this spiritual fruit,
assist me in obliterating any persistent feelings of malice.
“Let each trespass end as a closing chapter in my life,
as I continue on the path to righteousness.
Forgive my sins as I aspire to forgive others;
as I receive Mercy from You, help me to show mercy to others.
“You are truly the Supreme Model of forgiveness,Anonymous
for it is in Your Holy Cross that we are pardoned.
Grant me the grace to always imitate You in my life,
for You are truly a Most Faithful and Merciful Lord!”