Wounding the conscience of the brethren, you sin against Christ.
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 8:lb-7.11-13)
Brethren: “Knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If any one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him. Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords” — yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being until now accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 139: 1-3.13-14ab.23-24 (R. 24b)
R/. Lead me, Lord, in the way everlasting.
O LORD, you search me and you know me.
You yourself know my resting and my rising;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down;
you know all my ways through and through. R.
For it was you who formed my inmost being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you who wonderfully made me;
how wonderful are your works. R.
O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me, and know my thoughts.
See that my path is not wicked,
and lead me in the way everlasting. R.
ALLELUIA 1 John 4:12
Alleluia. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us. Alleluia.
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 6:27-38)
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.
Many Christians have suffered loss of appetite, sleeplessness, poor health and unnecessary pain because they harbor and foster hatred towards their enemies both real and imagined! In the gospel, the Lord admonishers, urging us to injure our enemies with love! In the words of G.K Chesterton, we are to love our neighbours and also to love our enemies probably because they are generally the same people – that man in our neighbourhood who has traded bad information about us, the one we presume hates us, the one who ridiculed and reviled us. We must never allow them to pull us into their hatred but we must bathe them in love.