Devotional Thoughts for 4th Sunday after Soonoyo of St. Mary Mother of God

In the beginning of today’s reading we hear our Lord reminding His listeners the old principle of retaliation like an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This was the law of the Israelites. (Leviticus 24.30) Our Lord taught: “Don’t resist with the evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” We are not sure how many of our Lord’s listeners accepted the teaching and practiced in their private lives. Let us think about ourselves. Can we accept this teaching in its face value? Will we able to humble ourselves not to resist the evil? We all still believe and practice the old principle with little change like two eyes for one eye and two teeth for one tooth. In our practical lives we forget who we are and forget the teaching of our Lord and Savior. We hear often from many,” I am not Lord Jesus or even a saint to forgive him or her.” When we try to resist the evil with our human ideas and thoughts, the evil would be the final victor. In the family lives, parish lives and church lives as well as in our social lives, we lose peace and harmony as and when we attempt to resist the evil. The modern man is facing the absence of peace in all places wherever he is present. The only way to attain the divine love and peace is to submit ourselves to God’s disposal in humbleness and to be perfect in the Godly natures.
In verse 40 and 41 we read, “And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”Is it possible for us? Will our false prestige allow us to do so? We often give clothes which are either torn or the ones which do not fit us. This is the greatest charity work done by us individually and most often under the leadership and auspices of the spiritual or social organizations. We often forget who is asking or begging for the clothing. We do not consider him or her as our own brethren. If we are filled with the divine love, we would treat the poor or the downtrodden as our own brethren. Our Lord wants us to give lavishly without reserves. If we feel that what we have is the gift of God, we will not find it difficult in caring the poor and needy. Let us believe that all that what is under our possession is the gift of God. In verse 42 we hear our Lord’s advice to give what is asked by another and not to turn away from the one who approach us to borrow something from us. Normally we get irritated by the poor and needy when they might approach us with compulsion. In such cases we often forget that they are stretching their hands in hope to get something or the other from us as they are either penny less or they are inefficient to fulfill their needs. Let us try to follow our Lord’s teaching.
Our Lord teaches to love our neighbors as well as our enemies. We often intend to love who might love us. The modern expression of love is purely selfish. People love others from whom they might get in return either as goods or services. Our Lord asks us to love our enemies, bless them that curse and to do good to them. In verse 45 our Lord makes it clear and explains why He is teaching so. We read, “That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust alike.” In verse 48 we learn our Lord’s desire about us. “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
We know our Father in Heaven is perfect in His divine love. God has created us and cares us to be perfect in the Godly nobility and natures like the divine love and compassion. If there is no sincere love in us, our all deeds are in vain. Let us not forget St. Paul’s explanation about the real love in 1 Corinthians 13: 1 onwards, where we read, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I am become as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of the prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not love I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be buried and have not loce, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long, and is kind , love envies not love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up.
Let us not forget that God is Love. “And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.
May God bless us.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril, Kottayam

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