The Gospel reading for today is a part of the Sermon on a plain, as described by Luke, which is parallel to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Mathew. The part that constitutes the Gospel of toady starts as follows: “Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” If you want goodness, justice, compassion and love for yourself, give the other all these. Hence, you are making him equal to you, just as God has made you equal to him. Before you love him, try to avoid all that harms him: mistrust, gossip, lying, slander, hatred and so on.

Afterwards, you show him goodness. Do not await anything from him. Expect abuse from many people, expect them to be unfair. Take the initiative and love them, so you shall advance and they shall be healed. Do not care if someone hurts you, for if you were highly sensitive, you will be hurt incessantly. Instead, you will feel sad for the other, and you will wonder why he did what he did.  Rare are those who can remain steadfast. If someone hurts you, do not forget that, first of all, he has hurt himself and has sinned. The Christ died for him, thus he is invaluable. You shall have one concern: to bring him back to the Lord so that he can be healed. His unfairness does not make you lose anything. Your value lies in you or in the Christ, and it can never be taken away from you despite all the harm you would encounter.

          No one can ever overthrow your peace. Only you can cause yourself to be in trouble, and only hatred can send you down to hell. You have to act and you must act, but by righteous means. Not by slander. You can argue, and defend your positions courageously and forcefully, yet in a peaceful manner. You oppose the other’s arguments, but you do not refuse him. You hate sins, not sinners; for God loves the sinners as He loves the righteous.

          You are a healer for those who hate you. You shall not take part in hatred. The solution is not to reject those who have hurt you, for this will erase neither your sadness nor their rancor. It is your responsibility to show your enemy the path back to God. For this reason, you shall neglect your hurt pride and get him reconciled not only with you, but also with himself and with God.

          Always remember that the liars and those who have an eager desire for money and distinction abhor you because of your fondness for the truth, for you threaten their interests. Being unable to kill you or fearing the punishment of crime, they have an alternative way to kill you; slander that drives you to despair of them and of life. If your sadness led to the rupture of your relations and to isolation, you would be giving them the chance to reach their goals and continue their transgressions. It is only through mercy that you can vanquish hatred and anger.

          This conclusion marks the ending of the Gospel reading: “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Jesus here sheds light on one of the aspects of God. It means that God is very lenient and that He welcomes all His sons. You shall not expel anyone away from your heart. Make it as wide as God’s heart.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الرحمة” – Raiati no40- 03.10.1999