2nd Sunday of Luke: What is Perfect Love?1 October 2023
All the legislation of the world is contained in 13 words of the Gospel reading for the 2nd Sunday of Luke.
So simple. So easy.
‘As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them’.
We pass thousands of laws with articles and provisions that have no meaning at all and that lead to lawlessness. You couldn’t make up what’s happening: we have thousands of laws and an absence of the rule of law.
Yet Christ managed to condense all the laws into one. It’s the golden rule for the life of society, especially these days when there’s so much crime and lawlessness.
Do we want to be loved? Show love.
Do we want to be treated fairly? Treat fairly.
Do we want people to be honorable? Be honorable.
What Christ tells us is that wherever we find ourselves (in authority, with wealth, with power, or just as ordinary people), we should apply the above rule if we’re to have a proper and peaceful life here on earth.
Christ goes on to set out the importance of love: ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great’.
Christ tries to give his disciples the definition of love. He calls upon them to love everyone impartially, and to look upon them as brothers and sisters. He tries to show them how to love as God does: everybody, without exception. God was even crucified because of his love.
He addresses the same challenge to each of us today.
We’re called upon to love all other people without reservation, no matter who they are.
In a world where the prevailing outlook is to love only those who love us, not to show any love towards our enemies but to wish them ill and to love those who are of assistance to us a little more, Christ lays a new basis for love.
We must love everyone, not only those who benefit us, and this love must extend as far as the cross. Both of these are very difficult in a society where the pervasive feeling is to do harm to anybody who doesn’t help you.
‘Love your enemies, and do good, and lend’, is the Lord’s message for our life. Those who really love do good things without expecting any recompense from anyone. That’s the rule for those of us who are in the Church.
Do you know what will judge our love: if we have an enemy and never love them as long as we live. If that’s the case, we’re unworthy of the name of God’s children nor do we deserve the Kingdom of God.
In conclusion, Christ gives us two pieces of advice in this passage. The first is: ‘As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them’; and the second is to love, being prepared to go to the cross for the person you love. But love is manifested through our actions. We should help people from whom we expect no return; though we may from God.