Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 6:27-38)
In yesterday’s mass the gospel reading began Jesus’ great sermon. Many think of that sermon being delivered on a mountain because that is setting in the longer, more demonstrative version of the Gospel according to Matthew. In Luke’s gospel, however, from which we hear these days, mountains are reserved for Jesus’ communion with the Father. The third gospel describes the plain as the place of encounter between Jesus and other humans.
Jesus is addressing his disciples when he says that they should turn the other cheek and lend to those who have never given them anything. In other words, he is telling them not to react to others but to be proactive like God in treating them kindly. There is a story of a man who lived by the sea and every morning would throw the starfish marooned on the beach back into the water. Why did he bother to save a few starfish? Conscious of it or not, he did it in fulfillment of Jesus’ command to be proactive in treating others with kindness.
In the great sermon Jesus lays out the oral form of his New Law. To be sure, it is impossible to uphold this law under the condition of original sin. But Christ has afforded us the Holy Spirit, the essence of the New Law, who enables us to do the impossible.