A Reflection on Luke 6:27-38
“To you who hear I say…,” Jesus said to me this morning. I immediately thought of my mom who has a continuing hearing problem as she grows older. She now sits more quietly around the table at family gatherings because she can’t follow a conversation. She watches little television. She told me that she often feels left out, even though we all make an effort to include her. Every time I visit, she reminds me how important it is to be able to hear, to listen.
“To you who hear I say…” The advice Jesus gives following those initial words must be really important, if he prefaced it with, “Listen up!” His following words are strong: enemies, hate, curse, mistreat, strike, take! Maybe because the negative words are so strong his advice to me is more than challenging: love, do good, bless, offer, do not withhold, be merciful. And he continues with such practical examples: stop judging, stop condemning, forgive, give.
Of course I want to hear Jesus but, if you’re like me, you can think of stupid things that set you off on the path of not loving. Today I was trying to back out of the garage. Even though I was half-way out, cars streamed by with drivers intent on dropping off their kids for school. I was frustrated and decided on the spot that they were uncaring, disrespectful boors!
St. Benedict said, “Listen intently and incline the ears of your heart.” I think this is what Jesus was talking about when he spoke those challenging words, “To you who hear I say…” The ears of my heart tell me the truth. I need to push myself to say the kind word and think the kind thought. I need to look at my own faults and failings before I enumerate in my mind those of others. I need to step up rather then find excuses to cop out. I need to be generous and not “measured.” I need to be open when others point out my faults and failures. I need to value my life as God values it.
When I listened up, that is what Jesus revealed to me. That is my reality – it’s not giving a tunic or offering the other cheek or not expecting someone to repay. It’s my day-to-day living of life that I pray I “hear.” Then I rejoice in the blessings and work to change the weaknesses with God’s help.
“To you who hear I say…” Jesus revealed today what he wanted me to hear. What do you hear?
By Sister Lynn Stenken, CDP
Thanks to our guest blogger, Sister Lynn Stenken, CDP, for this reflection! Sr. Lynn has a background in a variety of ministries, including education as a Catholic school teacher and principal, formation of new members of our community, and leadership as the Provincial Superior for the Sisters of Divine Providence. She presently serves as Director of Religious Education at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in California, Kentucky.