Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (6: 36-38) in which Jesus tells his disciples, ‘The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back’.Fr Paul notes the theme of today’s reading is, ‘Grant pardon and you will be pardoned…’ The atmosphere of today’s Gospel, says Fr Paul, is given by the first sentence in the reading. Luke gives us a generous and open welcome, ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.’ Luke sees compassion to be the most notable of the Father’s qualities. This compassion, or perhaps empathy, of Jesus is written all through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus feels for, and shares, the misfortunes of others. We only need to think of the funeral procession of the son of the Widow of Nain, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow’ (7:12). In those days, without a male family-protector, a woman was helpless and had nowhere to turn in her sorrow. Or again, Jesus’ delicacy dealing with the Woman who was a Sinner (7: 38-50): he quietly accepts her homage and her love, without hassling or interrogating her. Luke makes the same point most notably in the parable of the Good Samaritan (10.29). When, at the arrest of Jesus (22:50), the disciple slashes off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus heals it. Even to the end this compassion continues: he thinks more of the sorrows of the Daughters of Jerusalem and their sorrow for what is happening than for himself as he goes to his death (23:28). Jesus would not pass someone in the street who needed help.
Fr Paul notes today’s Gospel Lesson – Lent is a time to be compassionate to others just as God is compassionate.
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