Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday word, 18 Jun 2007

11th Monday of the Year (18 Jun 2007) 2Co 6. 1-10; Ps 98; Mt 5. 38-42
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Wideness of God’s Mercy

Last Monday we began it, and next Thursday we will conclude hearing what is called Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Chapters 5 through 7 of Matthew’s gospel. “Sermon” is a misnomer. These two chapters assemble sayings of Jesus. As he assembles them, Matthew gives Jesus’ sayings a sermonic turn for Jesus directly teaches the church: the first disciples down to us. As you hear these chapters and as you reflect on them, hear our Messiah address you.

Jesus recalls what people had been taught, You have heard it said. He adds, But I say to you. This is one way Jesus reveals the divine intention. Throughout God is the measure, the yardstick, we ought to use to live as God’s friends and as disciples of Jesus. The selection we just heard is full of extensions: turn the other [cheek] well. If anyone wants...your tunic, hand [over] your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go...two miles. Give...and do not turn your back....

Because God is the measure, Jesus is describing how God is with us: exceedingly patient; never dismissive; lavish in loving; always with us; and with us even when we are unaware or do not desire God’s presence. Because God is that way, our way with others is to be no different.

Living in ways which demonstrate to others God’s heart and desire requires endurance on our part; eagerness for Holy Spirit’s gifts and other ways God’s power graces us. This is St. Paul’s advice from his own experience. Many more saints and sainted people in our lives have emphasized it, and indeed recommend it to us.

The world may suggest passing things as ultimate. We need only consider briefly our own limitations, compulsions and poverty to know that God’s measure is ultimate and active. Why? Because God’s generosity has repeatedly enriched us so that even in our poverty we enrich many.
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