7th Sunday in Ordinary Time | Year C
1 Sam. 26:2, 7-23; 1 Cor. 15:45-49; Lk. 6:27-38
There’s a story told of a husband and wife both of whom were doctors – one a Doctor of Theology and the other a Doctor of Medicine. When their doorbell was rung and the maid answered, the inquirer would often ask for “the doctor”. The maid’s interesting reply was: “Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?”
We have heard so many cliches about love. But the fact is that there are many shades of love, ranging from conditional to unconditional, manipulative to freeing love. Love has lost its original meaning. But there are 3 options provided to be faithful to what God and scriptures intended.
- Option for love as the golden rule: “Do unto others what you want others do unto you”, the universal rule found in all religions of the world. This is the golden thread that runs through all world beliefs and religions. Is it the principle of ‘what we sow is what we reap?’ The law of karma? Yet this is the life-principle operating in life, that love generates love; forgiveness ends bitterness; and in reverse, violence breeds violence, fire and fire creates a bigger fire and unconstructive criticisms retard life and growth.
- Option for unconditional love ascribed by our All-giving God. It is referred to as agape love, to be loved freely, not based on our merits nor on entitlement. In us, it is yielding to one’s inner goodness, to do something for another whether we know them personally or not. It is the Fatherly love of God for humans; everlasting, sacrificing, free and unconditional. Some have described it as a feeling which never ends, a craving no one can fulfil, a smile that can change your world, a word that will make you want to live more.
- Option for mercy, choosing to forgive gracefully, harbouring no revenge and no plans to retaliate. It is a compassionate forbearance shown to offenders, enemies or captives who are in our power. Mercy is forgiveness, at its core. The refrain in Psalms 136 called the great Hallel celebrates that “God’s mercy endures forever” and Jesus is the face of mercy, face of God’s mercy. Matthew Schmalz, in his article “Mercy Matters” said that mercy begins by opening oneself to those with whom one might strongly disagree; such small acts of understanding, leads to life-changing experiences of love.
What drives you to love? What drives you to be different?
Is it the universal golden rule, the agape love of God or the mercy of God?
David was driven by His love for God and God’s anointed, the first king of Israel, Saul. He did not see an enemy, nor an ungrateful king or a relentless pursuant. He declared Saul , the Lord’s anointed.
Paul saw transcendence in Christ Jesus ie. a living soul becoming life-giving spirit; an earthly man becoming a heavenly man. This transcendence, that we are more than who we are, enables us to be as compassionate as God.
Jesus taught them, as the sons of the Most High to love the enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who treat you badly.
Why be kind? Because the Most High Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
In Mt 5:45, it is written “ For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.
So which doctor you want to be the one who preaches or practises?