February 17, 2019
Genesis 45:3-15; 1 Corinthians 15:21-26, 30-42; Luke 6:27-38
Alleluia. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Alleluia.
Outside the walls of church, do other people know you are a Christian? I hope your answer is yes! After all, they should know because it is the most fundamental part of who you are. Yet still, many people are caught off guard when they find out. They are caught off guard because WE like to hide that fact. We believe that it is either not important or we fear being made fun of because of our faith. So, we act like everyone else. We make sure not to be different enough that people can tell. We adopt their way of speech by cursing, swearing, gossiping, and using all sorts of profanities. We adopt their way of thinking in what we rank as important or not. We then adopt their way of actions, which is sin. We hide our faith because we don’t want to be different and so we embrace our sinful ways to hide.
Yet, you ARE different. As a Christian, you are set apart from everyone else. You are different because God has redeemed you and made you to be different! We are different from the world to show to others the love God has for us. This is exactly what Jesus spells out in our Gospel reading. “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them,” (Luke 6:27, 32). After all, this is exactly what God did for us. He loved us even when we were his enemies. He gives us food, family, and so on without ever expecting anything in return. He has been merciful to us, even though we never deserved it. For He sent his Son to die for us to save us from the punishment we deserved. So, God calls us to show his love to others. So, when we act differently, that is, according to the life God has called us, we demonstrate our faith to others. When we are nice, even when others treat us poorly; when we give generously, without expecting in return; when we have mercy… we are testifying to our faith and calling others to see the love that God has for them, in Jesus Christ. Amen!
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in You, mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!