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The good news for the day September 8

Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time (440)

Jesus says to his disciples: “To you who are playing attention I say: love your enemies, do good things to people who don’t like you, offer kindness to those who swear at you, and pray for people who treat you badly. To anybody who slaps you on one cheek, offer the other one, too. From anybody who takes your overcoat, do not withhold your suit coat. Give what they want to everyone who asks for it. From somebody who takes what is yours—do not demand its return. Do to other people what you would like them to do to you. Remember, if you love only people who like you, what credit is that to you? Even very bad people love those who like them. Say you do good to those who do good to you—what credit is that to you? Even very bad people do that. If you lend money to those from whom you expect interest, what benefit is that to you? Even terrible people lend to terrible people—and get back only what they loaned. No, you—love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without expecting any interest back; then your reward will be great and you will be fellow children of the Most High. He himself is gracious to ungrateful and bad people. Be merciful—as your Father is merciful. Stop judging other people, and you will not be judged. Stop condemning other people and you will not be condemned. Forgive—and you will be forgiven. Give away—and gifts will be given to you—in good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing—these will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use to measure others is the one that will be measured out to you.” (Luke 6)

We forget that as these words were being written some 50 years after Jesus, people were just starting to think of themselves as a “closed” community, a club of exclusively “good” people. Consider yourself—a moment—not yet a follower of Jesus, but just listening to a good orator offering advice and wisdom. These seem impossible, until you realize it is how good people act. Maybe not in the extreme form, but on a daily basis—generous, noble.

So here is advice for your own ordinary, peaceful, rich and mutual living. Here is how to behave towards everyone—and how you will become rich and calm within your heart, how you will find the strength when you need it, and how you will deal with others as equals—and enjoy the wealth that pours into your mind, heart and soul. It is an attitude of maturity, a spirit of “otherness,” and an appreciation of individual courage to be different.

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