A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians (Colossians 3:12-17)
“Put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Brethren: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And over all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 150:lb-2.3-4.5-6 (R. 6)
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise God in his holy place;
praise him in his mighty firmament.
Praise him for his powerful deeds;
praise him for his boundless grandeur. R.
O praise him with sound of trumpet;
praise him with lute and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;
praise him with strings and pipes. R.
O praise him with resounding cymbals;
praise him with clashing of cymbals.
Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! R.
ALLELUIA 1 John 4:12
Alleluia. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 6:27-38)
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would to do you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
In a world that advises us “the best form of defense is attack” and urges us to “get him before he gets you”, Jesus teaches us to love even those who hate us. This one of the most difficult tenets of the Christian life. But Jesus isn’t joking. Love everyone: enemies, haters, and those who curse and abuse us. Loving and forgiving them does more good to us than to the offenders. Jesus offers us the true key to a happy and healthy society. If you want a happy and healthy society, go on loving even when it hurts and even when the other does not deserve it. This is how God loves us. We need to be the channels of God’s love and compassion.