1 Corinthians 8:1b-4, 11-13
Our Gospel passage today continues Luke’s "Sermon on the Plain," as it is called in contrast to Mathew’s "Sermon on the Mount." The two writers appear to choose the physical setting of the stories they tell with great care. Thus their opposing metaphors powerfully reinforce their two unique theological perspectives. Matthew has Jesus speaking like Moses from the mountaintop-delivering the New Law with all the authority of the God of their ancestors as spoken by the prophets. Words from the mountain come from the mouth of God. But here in Luke we notice that a similar event of Jesus speaking to a large crowd takes place not on the mountain side but on level ground. "He came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said…." Jesus, in Luke, stands equal with the people, and in fact, humbly raises his eyes to speak. He is no less God, but he is truly a brother.
This passage is all about precisely that. Jesus tells us, and in fact shows us what it means to live as brothers and sisters. "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Offer the other cheek. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Such a radical message! These are the kind of words that are only believable when they are actually lived.
Mahatma Gandhi, the great Indian prophet of modern times was once asked what he thought of Christianity. He said he believed in Jesus and would definitely be his follower if those who called themselves Christian lived like Jesus did. Today we hear the call to radical discipleship spoken gently to us by a brother who humbly bows before us. Let us hear His words and speak them to one another in what we this day.
Fr. Jim Strommer, C.P. is on the Province leadership team and lives in Chicago, Illinois.