First Reading: 1 Samuel 26:2, 7 – 9, 12 – 13, 22-23;
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:45 -49
Gospel: Luke 6: 27 – 38
A monk was praying under a tree beside a river. As he prayed the tide was coming closer and
the river was rising. Then he noticed a scorpion at the foot of the tree struggling for dear life,
as the surging waves tried to drown him. The monk stretched out his hand to pull the scorpion
to safety but each time his hand came near the scorpion it tried to sting him. A passerby saw
what was going on and said to the monk: “What are you doing? Don’t you know that it is in
the nature of a scorpion to sting?” “Yes,” replied the monk, “And it is in my nature to save.
Must I change my nature, because the scorpion refuses to change his?” We indeed sometimes
forgive others on the basis of self-centered motivations. If that one is related to us by blood,
race, color, status; if that one has done a lot of good things for us in comparison to the bad
things they have lot of good things is considered weak and sick; if that one is stronger than us.
These are al natural motifs by which we forgive others. However God asks us in today’s
Scriptural readings to approach love, especially our forgiving love, not in a natural way but in
a godly way, the Christian way.
Among all the stories we read in the Bible, King David’s life stories are the most relevant,
related to, and the closest to any ordinary human person’s life. Like all of us, David had his
ups and downs, failures and successes; good days and bad days he made plenty of blunders; he
fell and rose again many times. For all David’s flaws and in fact he had many his sense of
God’s presence seemed almost without flaw. This is seen in his life, when he enshrines the
Ark of the Covenant, God’s dwelling among the people, and his dreams of building a temple, a
fitting dwelling for God, and in his writing of the psalms that bring out his intimacy with the
Lord. Above all, there are some incidents in his life which prove his great loyalty to God as
the worthiest son and servant.
Of those incidents there are two which explicitly demonstrate David’s spiritual nearness to
Yahweh. David had a wonderful opportunity to kill Saul, who out of envy and jealousy was
chasing David to end his life. But David forgave Saul, did no harm to him. He said to Saul:
“Today, though the Lord delivered you into y grasp, I would not harm the Lord’s anointed.”
(1 Sam 26: 23) In the other incident in David’s life we see once again his spirituality of
compassion and justice. When David fled from Jerusalem with his men to escape from his
enemies, on his way a man called Shimei threw stones at him and his men cursed him with
scornful words. David’s men could not bear such atrocity. They wanted to hit back Shimei.
But David stopped them from harming Shimei. He told them these wonderful Spirit-filled
words: “Suppose the Lord has told Shimei to curse David; who then will dare to say ‘why are
you doing this?”. … Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. Perhaps
the Lord will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is
uttering this day.” (2 Sam 16: 5 – 14) In fact, God gives back once again the kingdom to David
and when he had regained his power, Shimei with his men came back to David, fell down at
his feet, and asked his pardon. This wonderful son of Yahweh forgave Shimei, and made an
oath to him that no harm would be done to him.
The first reading shows how David was careful not to touch the anointed one of Almighty
God. Even though Saul was trying to kill him, David did not kill King Saul. Actually, it was a
favourable situation for David. Saul was sleeping with a spear near to him. God made a deep
sleep come on Saul and his 3000 men. There was nothing for David to be afraid of. For many
years Saul was trying to kill David. Yet David did not take the judgement into his own hands.
He did not follow the desires of his own heart. He gave God the first priority and therefore he
relied on God to vindicate him. Finally, he saw the vindication of God with his own eyes.
When all things favoured David to take his revenge on Saul, he still maintained his integrity.
Finally, God made him victorious. God does not like when we take revenge. But God likes
fighting for us.
Saint Paul gives us a clue in today’s second reading: “Just as we have borne the image of the
earthy one, we shall also bar the image of the heavenly one”. We were born like the first man,
Adam, inclined to disobey God. But when Jesus died and rose from the dead, he sent us his
“life giving Spirit” (1 Cor 15:45). So even now we begin to bear his heavenly image because,
through our baptism, Christ lives in us.
That doesn’t make Jesus’ commands any less exacting, however. We still bear the wounds of
our fallenness, and we won’t be able to let go entirely of the earthly man until we are united
with God in the next life. But Jesus wouldn’t have set such a high bar if he didn’t think it were
possible for us to reach it in this life.
That’s were faith comes in. We need to believe in God’s Word and promises. Even though
the earthly still clings to us, the heavenly is now our defining feature because we have become
a new creation in Christ. That’s the reality, even when we find ourselves struggling to follow
God’s grace is also a reality, and because Christ lives in us, we have unlimited access to it.
We see the effectiveness of his grace most visibly in the lives of the saints and other holy men
and women. It’s that grace that enabled them to love their enemies, to forgive, and to
generously give away their possessions. And it’s that grace that will also help us on day, and
even on moment, at a time.
The first man Adam fulfilled his own desires. He went back to dust. The last Adam, our Lord
Jesus Christ, came to fulfill the desires of our Almighty Father. He opened the gate of Heaven
for all of us and went back to Heaven. Can we analyze the life of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Though He was pure and Holy, He still enjoyed His life on earth.
We all know this act of forgiveness is nothing but impractical and unrealistic in our human
life. We think only saintly persons who have no dealing with the world, who are useless to the
world, can do this chivalrous act of forgiving their enemies. However, Jesus invites every one
of His disciples to forgive their enemies. However, Jesus invites every one of His disciples to
forgive their enemies. It is His command that we should forgive, as He forgave His enemies
and much more, just as His Father forgives all our sins. As Saint Paul points out, ‘earthly men
are like the man of earth, heavenly men are like the man of heaven.’ When Jesus demanded us
to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, He wanted us to be spiritual persons. Our
spirituality must be like that of Jesus’. Jesus lived a life of both compassion and justice. In
His life compassion prevailed justice. And that is what God is all about. Forgiving others is
not just the peak of human spirituality but a necessary condition, and the only condition to be
forgiven by God. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Jesus also exhorts us to be merciful as God is merciful. Anyone who humbles himself and
admits once sins and shortcomings knows what mercy is as he/she continues to experience
God’s love. We in turn extend that kind of mercy to people who are poor and hungry and in
need of our help.