“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)
I am sure you are quite familiar with this verse of the Bible; “give and it shall be given unto you.” You hear it at fundraising events, you hear it sang by the choir when your donations are requested. It may interest you to note that Jesus was not even talking about money when he said these words.
Jesus was talking out being merciful to others, forgiving people, refraining from passing judgement and condemnation on others. Jesus was talking about loving our enemies. By giving so that it will be given unto us, Jesus was re-echoing the words of the prayer which he taught us: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” For if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Our first reading today contains the prayer of Daniel for and on behalf of the nation of Israel. The bottom line of this prayer is a plea for God’s mercy over the sins of the people. “To the Lord belongs mercy and forgiveness because we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
If God forgives us of our faults, we too should forgive others. Jesus taught us to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The essence of this perfection is loving our enemies. Today, Jesus is saying: “be merciful even as your Father is merciful.” If we say God is our Father, we must resemble Him by treating people with mercy, kindness, and compassion.
The opposite of mercy is condemnation. To condemn is to write off a person as good for nothing, irredeemable, beyond repair, and disposable. If God never gives us on us, why should we give up on our fellow human beings? As our responsorial psalm sings: “O Lord, do not treat us according to our sins.” If this is our prayer, then we too should not treat people according to their sins.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me a merciful heart like yours. Amen.
Bible Study: Daniel 9:4-10, Ps. 79:8-9,11,13, Luke 6:36-38).