Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 8:1b-7.11-13; Luke 6: 27-38)
Both St. Paul in the epistle and Jesus in the gospel today speak of love. Neither makes the claim that it is easy, much less delightful. Paul would have his readers sacrifice what they have a right to for the sake of a skittish soul. He suggests that they fast from meat if one in their numbers is an animal lover. Jesus typically goes a mile farther. His followers are to allow others to take from them without making compensation!
Something should be said about the precise meaning of these passages. The Church has people who are scandalized over small things like buying milk on Sunday. Following Jesus literally, one might conclude that she should leave her house unlocked. But there can be no doubt that love tries the soul. As Dorothy Day both pointed out and lived: “…(L)ove in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.”
It would be a worthy exercise for us to list the people whom we know. Then next to each name we should write what sacrifices we made for that person. If the sacrifices are costly, we can say that we are fulfilling today’s gospel mandate.