Last week in the Gospel of Luke, just after choosing the 12 disciples, Jesus began to teach them how to be apostles. In the Gospel for this Sunday we continue on to the second part of this teaching in Luke chapter 6:27-38. Our reading is part of what is called "Luke's sermon on the Plain", which parallels Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Remember that the Beatitudes go deeper than material poverty and physical hunger, Jesus is telling them --and us-- that we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness and be poor in spirit. The verses following the Beatitudes are a point-by-point negative counterpart to the blessings described. But now Jesus' teaching takes a more personal turn as He describes how they --and we-- must love our enemies and not judge others.
Here is a sample of what we will hear on Sunday:
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Love your enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return."
How can we ever measure up to Jesus' standards? Well the answer is we cannot do it without the Holy Spirit. But thanks be to God! He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!