In my 4th of July post (Happy St. Elizabeth of Portugal!), I mentioned how the daily Mass readings often seem to fit the occasion. Living the liturgical year immerses one in these insights. It's kind of like the Catholic version of just picking up a Bible and reading whatever page it turns to...except that the Church actually plans out these readings, and when one reads the daily Scripture reading, one joins the larger Catholic community who shares these readings for the day.
When I was writing my Scripture reflection for the Immaculate Conception Ite Missa Est website this Thursday, I had a chance to reflect on the passages for Thursday in the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time. It's just "coincidence" that these particular readings fall on September 11th, the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and D.C. But again, it's not exactly coincidence. These things just work out somehow, even though the Church did not plan these readings specifically FOR September 11th.
Today's gospel passage comes from Luke 6:27-38 (NAB liturgy translation):
Jesus said to his disciples:“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? 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? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measurewill in return be measured out to you.”
These words should surely challenge us today, especially when we recall the events of seven years ago. How ought Christians to respond to our "enemies"?