Seventh Sunday of the Year C: February 20, 2022
Fr. John Tran
In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes of the First Adam and the Second Adam:“The first man, Adam, became a living being [the earthly one], the last Adam a life giving spirit [the heavenly one].Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.”This brings together the impact of our reading from I Samuel about David and our gospel from Luke with Jesus telling us to stop judging and forgive, so that we may not in turn be judged.This command and plea on Jesus' part is essential for really living the Gospel and for our very salvation.Jesus embodied this stance; for us to be his authentic disciples, living this way must be our way.
David could not do the evil to Saul that he would not want done to himself.After all, David was anointed king by Samuel when he was a mere youth.I am sure at the beginning, David could begin to understand how all this would work out.But he respected kingship enough to know that to become king by murder was not a just beginning.It was not something that David would want done to himself.What David understood about not allowing Saul is similar to what Jesus means in today's gospel, but only a shadow of what Jesus is asking of his listeners and of us.Jesus says that we are to do to others what we would want done to us; there is a difference.Jesus wants us to: “Do to do to others as you would have them do to you.”
These words of Jesus sum up the basic principle of the Golden Rule. But Jesus uses a positive form of an already existing moral principle which was usually expressed in a negative form: Do to no one what you yourself hate, as in Tobit 4:15. Loving both our neighbors and or enemies requires more than simply avoiding doing bad things to others, as people had previously said.Jesus insists on active, loving discipleship in which we do good things to others, as we like them to do for us.
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to mirror him not only in what we say, but in how we act.He asks us to put every other person's needs above our own.We are to bless those who curse us, pray for those who abuse us; even more we are to love who do not love us, and forgive and stop judging those who persecute us; we are even to die for them.In short Jesus' passion and death are our own. But,also is his resurrection!As we give, so will abundant gifts be given us.
Pray for the strength to forgive. At every Mass we pray the “Our Father,” asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. Our challenge is to overcome our natural inclination to hate. To meet that challenge we need to ask God for the strength to forgive each other. Each of us needs to ask: Do I have anyone in my life I call an enemy? Is there anyone who actually hates me? Are there people who would really curse me? Is there anyone in my life who mistreats me-–a boss, a teacher, a parent, a co-worker, a family member? These things hurt us, and they are often difficult to forgive. However, we must forgive, because only forgiveness truly heals us. If we remember how God has forgiven us, it will help us forgive others. For those who have hurt us, Jesus tells us our response should be love: “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Let us start forgiving right now by curbing the sharp tongue of criticism, suppressing the revenge instinct, and patiently bearing the irritating behavior of a neighbor.
TV news reporter Peter Arnett was visiting the West Bank in Israel when a bomb exploded in the middle of town. He was surrounded by anguished screams and clouds of smoke. A man holding an injured girl ran up to Peter and asked for a ride to a hospital. As they sped through the streets, the man nursed the bloody girl in the backseat. The doctors did everything to save the girl’s life, but to no avail. Peter turned to comfort the man on the loss of his child, but the man interrupted him. She wasn’t his child, he said. She was a Palestinian. He was Israeli. He found her lying in the street and decided to help. — “Mister,” he said through his tears, “there must come a time when we realize that we are all family.”
This is how the earthly being, the first Adam, is raised to be the heavenly being, the second Adam, who is none other than Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father.The Father now claims us as his sons and daughters too.In fact, the Father urgently calls to us to be his Son.