“The Lord is kind and merciful.”
I Samuel 26:2, 7-9. 12-13, 22-23
I Corinthians 15:45-49
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
On this the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, the scripture readings focus on our forgiveness with those we consider to be enemies, or those who profess different values than the ones we hold to be important, especially those values we strive to live out, reflecting our own religious beliefs and values. How we strive to live this out must be born from the Scripture admonition: “Love one another as I have loved you.” It sounds beautiful; however, how do we bring this to birth when we are living in difficult, or anxiety producing circumstances.
In the first reading for this Sunday, the Old Testament First Book of Samuel focuses on this question. We have the example of David, who will not kill Saul, even though Saul tried to kill David.
St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians that our life of faith begins with the natural, earthbound life we live. He writes of the natural living being who was the first man, Adam. And then we have the “last Adam,” the life giving Spirit of Jesus Christ. Paul doesn’t stop there. He goes on to proclaim that we all are born in the earthly image of Adam and that is not the end of the story. We too, are born anew into the heavenly image, the spiritual image of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, it is only in Christ, that we will live a life of love for others.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims love at its very deepest level. Can anyone but God love one’s enemies no matter what they (either people or circumstances) do to us? We cannot pride ourselves as being such a perfect loving person, if we are honest with ourselves. Only if we endeavor to live “in Christ” as St. Paul writes in his letter, 2 Corinthians 13:1-13. I believe that only when we desire, and pray, and live, to be “in Christ” can we hope to grow in real love.
In what ways can we reveal the presence of the Lord living within our hearts and lives?
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Do not repay one bad turn with another. Do not injure anyone, but bear injuries patiently.” Love your enemies. If people curse you, do not curse them back, but bless them instead… Place your hope in God alone.” Chapter 4, Verse 29-32, 41
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34