The Good News for the day, February 26, 2018

Monday of the Second Week of Lent (230)

Jesus says to people he inspires: “Reach out to others caringly, the way your Father does. Stop judging other people and you won’t get judged. Stop condemning other people and you won’t get condemned. Forgive other persons, and you will be forgiven. Give stuff away—gifts will be given you—in fine measure, packed all together, shaken down for fullness, and then overflowing—all poured into your lap. In sum: whatever standards you use on other people will be used on you.” (Luke 6)

Although “Be merciful” are the words translators traditionally use for the opening of this passage, but the rich original meaning is lost in translation. Originally—in Greek and Semitic—the passage tells you and me to care with our innards, to feel compassion-in-the-body-and-act, to love with a love so painful it must get “out there,” to pour yourself out in words and acts—especially towards someone you see in need of mercy, forgiveness, or help. This love hungers to help someone, to cheer another person up—as with beauty—like a sunrise, to satisfy as—as with a peach, to offer meaningful mercy to someone who needs that caring attention.

That is the standard you use—not to judge, condemn or blame at all. You look at another person with the love of the Creator and feel their weak humanity—their “flesh” (in biblical terms). In the Name—Person—of Jesus, you offer life and peace. You provide breath, fun, space, and a redeeming justice.

In short, you see someone hurting—and love them back to Life, as God does. You do not lessen the lives of others, but free them, save them from what prison they are in—whether they have put themselves in it, or others have done it to them. Your Lenten exercise means you recognize and acknowledge the presence of forces challenging your family—the Devil working to seduce into thinking you are better than others. You and I are not better—but different; we are fellow children, loving, compassionate and forgiving—and it comes back to you—this richness, this wealth of life.

You become Alive with the goodness of others! THAT is the great gift. that overwhelms you—that Life which is the rebound of your caring, respect and forgiveness of the world around you. Your “family of God” surrounds you with affection, reverence and simple kindness. as to a brother or sister. What Joy!

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