Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 24, 2019

7C19. 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23. Opportunities! Should we take advantage of them despite the risks that might be involved? In giving us opportunities what does the Lord want of us? God had given David the opportunity to win the war of who is King in this world or the heavenly, moral war of who proves himself a son of God the Father and not a son of the ways of this world. David acted out of a righteousness and love that was not of this world and it ways, but of God’s ways. In whose eyes should we achieve victory: in God’s eyes or the eyes of people who think in the customary ways of this world? By whose measure do we measure? The real victory belonged to David because he chose to please God above all.

Luke 6:27-38. The title of this Gospel should be: “Be love as God is love.” It is by his measure of love that we should measure and not by any worldly measure. Jesus offers a way of thinking that contradicts the ways of this world: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” In other words, love as God loves. It is impossible for God to hate because the essence of God is love. He must always be who he is. Human hatred for God cannot make God hate in return. At the point of one’s death he can allow us to live in our eternal hatred and go to hell because that was what we freely chose, even though it never was what he wanted. Hell is a state of being that those who choose it create for themselves by choosing to live without the only source of eternal goodness. God never sends anyone to hell because he hates us, although we may have given him every reason to hate us. God acts only to help us go to heaven by helping us to become love as he is love. “Be merciful, just as your heavenly Father is merciful.” Nonetheless we have been given by God the power to reject his merciful love because God did not create a world of robots, since robots do not have the capacity to love nor become love.

Jesus said, “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.” We leave to God what belongs to God alone. Judging belongs only to God. We can certainly recognize evil when we see it but must leave to God alone all final decisions. We must pray for those who seem to have chosen to be evil to the end of their lives. God expects the love that he pours into us to make us as he is: truly loving children of the loving God who is our Father.

1 Corinthians 15:45-49. Paul writes, “It is written, The first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit.” Adam received life; Jesus gives life. Because Jesus is not only human but divine, he is infinite love. His love gives life that can never end, because his love can never die. Jesus gives to those who choose to receive it, life that can never die because his gift of love to us can never die. Paul ends this Sunday’s epistle with the words: “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.” The image of the earthly one is a creature of the earth. In Genesis 3:19b, c, God says to Adam, “You return to the ground from which you were taken; for you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.” (I deleted the word ‘until’ for a better flow.) From our creation out of the dirt of this earth, our inheritance from Adam is to go back to that from which we came. However, Jesus, by his death on the cross and resurrection to new life, has given us a spiritual life that has raised us up to a life beyond anything this earth can give. In John 17:16, Jesus said, “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” To those who have given themselves over to Jesus as the source of their life, Jesus’ love for us gives us the other-worldly spiritual life. In John 17:26, Jesus said, “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I them.” Jesus’ life is in us when we live in never-ending communion with him.