Monday of the Second Week of Lent
(Daniel 9:4b-10; Luke 6:36-38)
Father Gilbert Hartke directed the famous drama program at Catholic University of America in Washington for decades. He was genuinely loved by his students. At his funeral the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was filled with admirers. Besides his accomplishments as a director, Fr. Hartke was notable for the admirable quality of never saying a bad word about anyone. He practiced what Jesus preaches in the gospel today.
More than laying down the New Law, Jesus is describing the new creation which his followers will become given the grace of his resurrection. They will stop condemning others but stand ready to forgive their sins. They will practice generosity not so that they may receive in return although in fact they will experience more benefits than they imagined.
One of the characteristics of post-modernity is criticism. As a way of avoiding commitment, people today criticize just about every social institution. Only the loosest associations -- perhaps the list of friends on Facebook -- escape this tendency to disparage and dismiss. But this is not the way of Jesus' community of faith. Although we do not close our eyes to others' faults and much less to our own, we try to understand and forgive them.