Posted by: frburke23 | September 11, 2014

Thought for Thursday, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
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.”
____________________________________________________________

I just returned from preaching the parish mission at St. James Parish in Tupelo, MS.  It was a wonderful experience as we reflected on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel.  I met some old friends and made many new friends and together we grew closer to the Lord.

Today is also the anniversary of 9/11.  In today’s Gospel Jesus asks us to pray for and bless those who persecute us.  This timing striking as we reflect on the horrible things that were done in New York.

Today we hear how Jesus raises the bar once again.  Many of us are able to love our family, friends and those who love us.  But Jesus says that anyone can do that, even sinners.  Jesus challenges us to love our enemies, to lend, to give, to forgive, to love until it hurts.  Is this easy?  Of course not.  But Jesus never said that following Him would be easy.  In fact, He says, If you follow me you will have to “pick up your cross and follow me”.  Being a Christian is not for the weak of heart.  It takes courage, fortitude and discipline to follow the Lord.

I believe the key to all of this is LOVE.  My favorite definition of love is “to will the best for the other person”.  If we truly love (and I’m not just talking about those who love us), we are willing to deny ourselves of the things that this world tells us we need to be happy (money, power, prestige, the loftiest position, financial security).  We are also willing to lay down our lives for others, even those who persecute us.  How is this possible?  We must fall in love with the person of Jesus to know how this is possible.

If we truly are sons and daughters of the living God, imagine how much God loves each person in the world.  He created you and me out of love.  He created your worst enemy out of love.  What is my responsibility now as a disciple of Christ?  I’m called to honor each person as a child of God.  The same Holy Spirit and resides in me resides in others.

I recently watched a documentary on Mother Theresa.  Her ability to see Jesus in every person amazes me – the poor, the sick, the marginalized.  Through adoration she allowed her heart to be filled with the love of Jesus; then she went out and shared what she had received.

It is so easy to judge others, to condemn others, to allow our pride to swell and focus the attention on ourselves.  Maybe we can try to put ourselves in the position of our enemy to understand their point of view.  Maybe they have been hurt along the way and are only acting out of pain.  Everyone of us has been wounded at one point or another in life.  Maybe they need to be loved – BY US – in order to find healing and wholeness.

“There is no greater LOVE than to lay down your life for a friend.”  Jesus laid down His life for you and me because He loves us.  How much do we show our love for others around us?  Am I consistently laying down my life, my desires, my selfish pleasures?  Can I truly see my enemy as a beloved child of God?  Let that be our prayer today…

God bless,

Fr. Burke

https://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

San Lucas 6:27-38

Pero yo les digo a ustedes que me escuchan: Amen a sus enemigos, hagan el bien a los que los odian.
Bendigan a los que los maldicen, rueguen por los que los difaman.
Al que te pegue en una mejilla, preséntale también la otra; al que te quite el manto, no le niegues la túnica.
Dale a todo el que te pida, y al que tome lo tuyo no se lo reclames.
Hagan por los demás lo que quieren que los hombres hagan por ustedes.
Si aman a aquellos que los aman, ¿qué mérito tienen? Porque hasta los pecadores aman a aquellos que los aman.
Si hacen el bien a aquellos que se lo hacen a ustedes, ¿qué mérito tienen? Eso lo hacen también los pecadores.
Y si prestan a aquellos de quienes esperan recibir, ¿qué mérito tienen? También los pecadores prestan a los pecadores, para recibir de ellos lo mismo.
Amen a sus enemigos, hagan el bien y presten sin esperar nada en cambio. Entonces la recompensa de ustedes será grande y serán hijos del Altísimo, porque él es bueno con los desagradecidos y los malos.
Sean misericordiosos, como el Padre de ustedes es misericordioso.
No juzguen y no serán juzgados; no condenen y no serán condenados; perdonen y serán perdonados.
Den, y se les dará. Les volcarán sobre el regazo una buena medida, apretada, sacudida y desbordante. Porque la medida con que ustedes midan también se usará para ustedes”.

———————————————————————————————————

Acabo de llegar de la parroquia de St. James en Tupelo, MS, donde di unas platicas de La Alegría del Evangelio del Papa Francisco.  Vi a unos amigos y conocí a muchos amigos nuevos, gracias a Dios.

Hoy escuchamos una vez más cómo Jesús exige más de nosotros.  Muchos de nosotros somos capaces de amar a nuestra familia, amigos y aquéllos que nos aman.  Pero Jesús dice que cualquiera  puede hacer eso, incluso los pecadores.  Jesús nos reta a amar a nuestros enemigos, a prestar, a dar, a perdonar, a amar hasta nos que duela.  ¿Es fácil esto?  Por supuesto que no.  Pero Jesús nunca dijo que seguirlo a El seria fácil.  De hecho, dice, si tu me sigues tendrás que “tomar tu Cruz y seguirme”.  Ser cristiano no es para los débiles de corazón.  Se necesita ánimo, fortaleza y disciplina para seguir al Señor.

Creo que la clave de todo esto es el amor.  Mi definición de la palabra amor es “siempre desear lo mejor para la otra persona”.  Si realmente amamos (y no sólo estoy hablando de aquellos que nos aman), estamos dispuestos a negarnos a nosotros mismos de las cosas que este mundo nos dice que necesitamos para ser felices (dinero, poder, prestigio,

posición alta, seguridad financiera).  También estamos dispuestos a entregar nuestras vidas por los demás, incluso a aquellos que nos condenan.  ¿Cómo es posible esto?  Debemos de enamorarnos con la persona de Cristo para darnos cuenta como esto es posible.

Si realmente somos hijos e hijas del Dios viviente, imagínate cuánto ama Dios a cada persona en el mundo.  Él te creó a ti y a mí por amor.  Él creó a tu peor enemigo por amor.  ¿Cuál es mi responsabilidad ahora como un discípulo de Cristo?  Soy llamado a honrar a cada persona como un hijo de Dios.  El mismo Espíritu Santo que vive en mí vive en otros.

Es tan fácil juzgar a los demás, condenar a otros,  permitir que nuestro orgullo se infle y enfocar la atención en nosotros mismos.  Tal vez podemos intentar ponernos en el lugar de nuestro enemigo para entender su punto de vista.  Quizás a través del tiempo han sido heridos y sólo actúan con dolor.  Cada uno de nosotros hemos sido heridos en un momento dado en la vida.  Tal vez necesitan ser amados – POR NOSOTROS- con el fin de encontrar la sanación y plenitud.

“No hay AMOR más grande que dar tu vida por un amigo”.  Jesús dio su vida por ti y por mí porque nos ama.  ¿De que forma mostramos amor al que nos rodea?  ¿Estoy constantemente dando mi vida, mis deseos, mis placeres egoístas?  ¿Puedo realmente  ver a mi enemigo como un amado hijo de Dios?  Que esto sea nuestra oración el día de hoy…

Dios Mediante,

Fr. Burke

https://frburke23.wordpress.com


Responses

  1. Blessed by your words – what I needed to hear.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. The waterfall comes again to nourish our faith! Oddly enough, “honor” is the word that came to my head this morning as I went about preparing for my day. Do I “honor” others as a child of God? Do I “honor” myself as a child of God? Father Burke, thank you for your insight to grow my thoughts from child-like questions to mature examination of conscience.

  3. Right on, Fr. Masters, you rock. Peace & Love.

    Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2014 04:14:49 +0000 To: dpeace.77@hotmail.com

  4. Father Burke I hope your trip home was a good one. I know it is always good to go home. I wanted to ask you this at the mission, but I guess it was one of those non-courageous catholic moments. In our crazy world today, I find it very difficult to not get emotional and angry when I see a man beheading another man. It is very difficult for me not to form an opinion. Love is the farthest feeling from my heart. I find that my knee jerl reaction is vengeance and why do we not turn that part of the world into a parking lot with our bombs. I see that and think that these people will not understand love, christian forgiving or diplomacy. All they will understand is force. My question is how do you handle this and keep it loving? Kevin Hartigan, Tupelo, MS. newyorkmoose@comcast.net

    • This is not easy to do. Unjust acts make us angry. But the Lord calls us to stay close to Him and pray for the ability to forgive…


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