Readings: Daniel 9:4-10, Ps. 79:8-9, 11, 13, Luke 6:36-38

“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” (Luke 6:38)

I am sure you know this verse: “Give and it shall be given unto you.” Jesus was not talking about money alone but the need to be merciful, forgiving, and refrain from condemning others. With these words, Jesus re-echoed the words of the prayer he taught: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” What lessons do we learn from today’s readings:

1. The Golden Rule of Life is “Do to others what You Want Done to You.” Regardless of your religion or denomination, life will always give you an abundance of whatever you give to others. It doesn’t matter whether you are the person who offended first; the golden rule is that whatever you give out must return to you. This is why Jesus told us to love our enemies and do good to them. He knows that if we hurt them (in retaliation for their offences), it will still backfire on us later. In other words, when we take vengeance, we indirectly hurt ourselves.

2. The Summary of the Bible is “Do to Others What You Want Done to You.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12). The message of the entire scripture is to be kind towards our fellow human beings even if they don’t deserve it. “Do to others as you would have them do to you… If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High.” (Luke 6:31-35). Today’s responsorial psalm sings: “O Lord, do not treat us according to our sins.” If God relates with us as we relate with our offenders, we would all be dead by now.

3. Before Pointing Fingers at Others, Point Then Inwards: The easiest way to avoid condemning others is to examine our conscience thoroughly. Whenever I hear about the fall of others, I always ask: “If I were in that person’s shoes, would I have done better?” Daniel’s prayer in today’s first reading caught the attention of God because it contained an honest acknowledgement of sins. Daniel said: “To the Lord belongs mercy and forgiveness because we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.” Daniel knew that the Israelite nation had broken their part of the covenant and, as such, did not deserve God’s blessings.

In the parable about the two men who went to pray, Jesus praised the tax collector, who “standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ This man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14). This is why we always begin the Holy Mass with penitential rites. We humble ourselves by confessing our sins so God may exalt us by granting our petitions.

4. Be Merciful like God; Expect the Best from Others: By asking us not to condemn, is Jesus saying we should condone evil? Do not forget that Jesus used words like “brood of vipers… evil and adulterous generation… white-washed tombs,” etc., while addressing various persons during his proclamation. The fact that God is merciful does not mean hellfire no longer exists. If, in the name of “don’t judge,” we fail to point out the errors of others, we share their guilt. The ultimate message in today’s Gospel passage is to avoid giving up on people. To be merciful like God is to be like the prodigal son’s father who waited patiently for his return and received him as one risen from the dead.  

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, give me a merciful heart like yours. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 2nd week of Lent. Bible Study: Daniel 9:4-10, Ps. 79:8-9,11,13, Luke 6:36-38).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu