Thursday, 11 September 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

First, something from St. Augustine of Hippo on today's reading (source: Daily Reading and Meditation):
  • "Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given you. These are the two wings of prayer on which it flies to God. Pardon the offender what has been committed, and give to the person in need." [Sermon 205.3]
  • "Let us graciously and fervently perform these two types of alms giving, that is, giving and forgiving, for we in turn pray the Lord to give us things and not to repay our evil deeds." [Sermon 206.2]
Today's gospel reading highlights one of the differences between Christianity and other religions: treating others not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated. And since God is kind and merciful to all people (just and unjust, good and bad, saint and sinner, kind and cruel, etc.), so should we. It is the way of the world for us to treat better those we like, look up to and/or consider to be similar to us. This is not to be the way Christians should act. It is also easier to show kindness and mercy when we expect something in return, even if it is a small something. This is also not how we should act. We should give without expecting anything in return, without fear that our gifts would be misconstrued, and without worry that we would be taken advantage of. For even if these things happen to us God is with us and He sees all. It is not our place to protect ourselves but rather to give until it hurts and then give some more. So let's take today's gospel reading literally- the next time someone sins against you, don't return the favour. Forgive and forget, even when the person does nothing to deserve it.

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