Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 6:27-38)
The third century theologian Tertullian quoted pagans admiring Christian, “Look how they love one another.” Evidently early Christians took to heart Scriptural passages like the one we read from the Letter to the Colossians today. We are told to “have heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another...”
In the name of honesty Christians today criticize one another with all the fervor of desperate politicians. For the past generation at least the locus of criticism has been the liberal-conservative divide. Liberals speak of conservatives as compassionless while conservatives fault liberals for wavering commitment to Church belief. It may not always be possible to refrain from judgment on fundamental Christian principles like mercy and faithfulness. Still in most cases forbearance is possible until one knows the thoughts and situation of the other completely.
We follow Christ, in the words of the reading, by “bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” Doing so, we might turn around and find Christ putting into our hearts his peace.