Lenten Gospel Reflection for Monday, March 1st, 2021
Are you using lent as an opportunity to become closer to God? My primary focus for the past twenty years has been to encourage people to to attain an “Authentic Faith.” Simply put, that insinuates developing the ability to rightly understand biblical principles. (2 Timothy 2:15)
IMHO, too few that call upon the Name of our Lord take the time to study for themselves. Modernism in today’s Church is more about embracing politically correct, popular concepts of morality than traditional teachings. Their approach to biblical exegesis is to remove every vestige of divine and miraculous from scripture, relegating the Bible to being merely ratings of men. In doing so, they remove any vestige of authority. In this approach to biblical interpretation the Liberal Modernists become their own authority
Today’s Gospel reading just may be one of the most misunderstood and misused by modern-day revisionists. Oftentimes, I believe it is purposefully obfuscated. Liberals, both secular and pseudo-Christian utilize this passage to insinuate that even teaching against their pet sins is in itself immoral. Any rational and contextualized reading of scripture, refutes this attitude. The essence of God’s message to the world is that He expects us to adhere to a certain moral standard. Yet, the prevailing wisdom suggests that teaching moral imperatives is somehow wrong.
Jesus told us that He didn’t come into the world to “Judge” or “condemn”anyone, but, “whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Without both faith in Jesus Christ, and adherence to His standards, we have no hope of pleasing God.
“Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.” This is how the message of Salvation in Christ needs to be presented. We are expected to “be perfect as”our “Father is perfect.” It is clear that it is in showing compassion for all, even those who wish us evil, that we are to aim at imitating our heavenly Father.
As Christians, our response to those we encounter in the secular world, a well as within the Church of God, must always be done with compassion, mimicking, to the best of our human ability the Godly example provided by Christ, Jesus. From my reading of the Gospels, I don’t see that Jesus had any compulsion against calling sin what it is.
God’s compassion is all-embracing. His love reaches out to all without any discrimination between saint and sinner. Like the rain and sun which fall equally on all, so God’s compassion and mercy are extended to all. We, too, are being called to follow the example of our God and of Jesus his Son. We must always remember the words of Jesus as he was nailed and hanging on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Here is the compassion of God being expressed in the most extreme situation. Jesus’ words were remembered and repeated by Stephen when he is being stoned to death.
In today’s Gospel, we are told to follow that compassion by not sitting in judgement on others, meaning that we are not tp presume to pass ETERNAL judgment. We simply don’t have that authority. However, that in no way means that we are to be blind to the sins and false teachings of others.
As the Church, our primary task is to provide proper catechesis to our faithful. Next is to become a faithful witness of Jesus to the world as well. In this, we do virtually nothing to reinforce the notion of right behavior by our silence. But, the fact remains that those with secular ears they seldom hear the criticisms we make.
“Do not condemn and you will not be condemned; pardon and you will be pardoned.”
We repeat this portion of the “Lord’s Prayer” at every liturgy, when we pray, “Forgive us our sins in so far as we forgive the sins of others”. How many of us take to heart that in some manner, own salvation is intrinsically linked to our ability to forgive others.
For many, this has simply become a rote and dangerous prayer to make, it trips so easily off our tongues, the same tongues that can be so critical and judgemental.
The gospel calls for great generosity in our relationship with others. Not just material generosity but generosity in love, in understanding, in tolerance and acceptance, in compassion and forgiveness. The more generous we are with others the more we will receive in return.
Gospel — Luke 6:36-38
Jesus said to his disciples:“Be merciful, just as 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.”