First reading: 1 Sm. 26:2,7–9,12–13,22–23
In those days, Saul went down to the desert of Ziph with three thousand picked men of Israel, to search for David in the desert of Ziph. So David and Abishai went among Saul’s soldiers by night and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade, with his spear thrust into the ground at his head and Abner and his men sleeping around him.
Abishai whispered to David: “God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!” But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished?” So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul’s head, and they got away without anyone’s seeing or knowing or awakening. All remained asleep, because the LORD had put them into a deep slumber.
Going across to an opposite slope, David stood on a remote hilltop at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops. He said: “Here is the king’s spear. Let an attendant come over to get it. The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness. Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the LORD’s anointed.”
Second reading: 1 Cor. 15:45–49
Brothers and sisters: It is written, The first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.
Gospel: Lk. 6:27–38
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 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 measure will in return be measured out to you.”
In other words Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD (Catholic Trade, Manila, Philippines)
Our gospel today illustrates how difficult and challenging it is to be a true and genuine Christian. One must be ready to receive abuses, insults, and even physical violence for the sake of the faith. One must be ready to be persecuted, discriminated against, and ridiculed by people who do not recognize God and Christianity. Such has been the fate of the many men and women who suffered martyrdom and whom we remember today in our liturgies as the saints presented to us as models of the Christian life. In a world full of violence, it would be refreshing to see a person espousing peace and reconciliation. In a world full of cheating, dishonest, and corrupt people, an honest and authentic person stands out as a beacon and reminder of what is good and true.
Lately, the president of the country announced yet another drive against corruption. Corruption has been the perennial scourge of government service. The lure of money has always been difficult to resist, especially when one is in need or simply because one is too weak to resist temptation. When one is able to resist temptation, it is an indication of having a strong moral backbone that is possible only for one who has faith in God. Perhaps the world needs to be constantly reminded of what the true values of life are. There must be persons who would remind us what the right thing to do is. Thus a Christian is called to be a witness—to show by his life and acts what it means to be a true Christian. The well-known Prayer of Saint Francis beautifully describes the vocation of a Christian:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow your love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not
So much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive,
And it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”