Daily Reflection
September 12th, 2002
 Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
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1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13
 Psalm 139:1-3, 13-14, 23-24
Luke 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. ...
     Be merciful, just as also 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; ...
     For the measure with which you measure
     will in return be measured out to you."

Dear Lord, your words are thrilling and so challenging.  Something deep within me is stirred by the clarity and purity of your call.  Yet, I am stopped, almost stunned, to again hear your simple and profound desire about how we live our life.  You really do want us to love each other the way - exactly the same way - that you love us.

Oh, Lord, the habits within me are so deep.  The culture around me is so strong.  Even the religious culture around me seems to be so harsh and righteous.  I'd feel "at home" if you had said, "Love those you can trust. Be kind and good and friendly with those who deserve it and show signs that being good to them will ultimately be good for you.  Attack those who attack you. Point your finger in judgment against those that fail in following my teachings.  People will know you are my disciples if you have a real bad attitude toward those who sin, especially those who sin badly.  Impatience is a virtue. If you work hard and do well, you have a right to be critical of those who don't. Crabbiness isn't all that bad, when everyone out there seems so stupid and incompetent. When somebody hurts you, punish them with your best retort, at least let them suffer from the silent treatment. Never trust them again. Your personal happiness and security are paramount, so invest wisely.  Poor people are probably lazy people, and besides, charity begins at home."

Thank you for reminding me of your mercy.  Thank you letting me have a taste, a touch of your compassion and understanding today.  I have to rest in your forgiveness of me before I can share it.  I need to let your accepting love reach deep inside to embrace the angry, judgmental, impatient and crabby person within me.  It's funny.  I think that sometimes I really want you to be harsh with me.  At other times, I seem to take your forgiveness for granted.  Today, let me know your love.  Let me experience a deep gratitude that comes from knowing that you died for my sins, my habits, my patterns, my lack of courage in living your way of love in this world.

Today, let me practice being your disciple this way.  As incredible and impossible as it may seem, as vulnerable and defenseless as it may feel, wipe the slate clean today.  Let me forgive everyone I hold anything against.  Let me try to feel compassion for, gentleness with, those people in my life that annoy me.  Let me understand their struggles as you do.  Give me your grace today so that I might be a healer in places where I might be tempted to be critical.  Help me measure how much patience I should give someone by how much you have given me.  And, dear Lord, lover of us all, give me trust and courage, when I fear what will happen to me if I love this way.  I have nothing to fear from falling into your loving embrace, as you fell into your Father's loving embrace.  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you.

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