HOMILY FOR SEVENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME


The movement of the Liturgy of The Word today is calling us to complete conversion in Christ. In the First Reading from Samuel, David is presented with the golden opportunity to kill Saul, his finer feelings are commendable, his conscience comes into play and he will not kill the king, declaring “The Lord forbid that I should raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed”. There is however no indication that had the enemy not been in possession of kingly anointing, David may have lacked the finer development of conscience and indeed slain the un-kingly enemy.

In Luke 6: 27 – 38, Jesus calls us to a more complete and radical outreach to all our enemies, irrespective of Kingly Anointing, that is irrespective of all gradation of status. “I say this to you, Love your enemies…. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate”. This is a most challenging call to conversion. We must bear in mind the extent of the Father’s compassion; our sinfulness is darkness and is therefore in total contrast to the Father’s light. Because the Father is total compassion He sends his only son, filled with the Light of His own Love, to be crucified and in so doing shows us complete and radical self-giving. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah “By his wounds we are healed”.

Today’s Ps, Ps 102, puts it superbly: “It is He who forgives all your guilt, who heals everyone of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion”. By the death and resurrection of Christ, our fragmented and broken persons are brought to harmony and completion. This is radical compassion coming from the depths of the Mystery of The Father’s Love. Now Jesus throws down the gauntlet right in front of us: “Be compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionate”.

Christianity is the most radical and cumbersome religion. If we are even to aspire to authenticity as Christians, we must at least try to love our enemies. There is no hiding place from this challenge. To try and fail and try again and again is part of the sheer trudge of the Christian journey. Not to try at all renders one inauthentic. Today’s Second Reading 1 Cor 15: 45-49 brings everything together for us, “And we, who have been modelled on the earthly man, will be modelled on the heavenly man”. As the inheritors of Adam and Eve we are encased in earthly limitation. But Christ the Second Adam transforms our earthly limitation with the Light of His Father. This cannot happen though, unless we hear Christ echoing unceasingly “Be Compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionate”. This requires on-going openness of heart.

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