Col 3:12-17; Ps 150:1-6; Lk 6:27-38
We all need the Lord’s mercy day after day. We still need to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. As Saint Paul admonishes us we need to teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts. In the name of the Lord Jesus we give perfect thanks to God the Father through him. Indeed, as the Lord Jesus teaches us in today’s Gospel without our constant plea for mercy we cannot be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful.
With great prayer we put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another as the Lord has forgiven us. Saint Paul preaches that this life of love is the bond of perfection that lets the peace of Christ control our hearts. This is what we were called to in our Baptism into the one Body of Christ. This is the public witness and testimony for which each of us is responsible. Without such a life-giving example we will not be able to have any influence on our brothers and sisters among whom we live much less change the world. This is why we have been called in faith to hope for the coming of the Kingdom and to love with the very power of the Holy Spirit. It is this kind of radical witness to the life and love of Christ in us that will challenge and comfort those with whom we share on a daily basis. Even if we never have the responsibility of liturgical preaching, we still have the responsibility to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him. The necessity of Sunday Liturgy is especially clear and even the need for daily Eucharist is abundantly clear from this teaching of Saint Paul. Being thankful for the power and glory of the Kingdom of God here and now gives us the strength necessary for our transformation and for the transfiguration of our world in the glory and power of Christ Our Lord and God.
This same Christ still teaches his disciples how to give witness to the Kingdom of God that is already within us. In Saint Luke’s great teaching on the level ground the Lord Jesus commands us to live in a manner that is otherworldly. We are in the world, but we are not of the world. We are commanded to do what the world could never even imagine. We are commanded to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us, to pray for those who mistreat us. This kind of Kingdom-life is impossible for anyone who does not first know the boundless mercy of God. Until we have experienced the overwhelming power of God’s mercy, we cannot be merciful to those who do not want our mercy or do not seem to deserve it. Once we have received that which we do not ourselves deserve, we cannot refuse it to another. Such is the wisdom and power of the Gospel we hear proclaimed and celebrate with praise at every Eucharist.