Tuesday after Quinquagesima
Scripture: St. Luke 6:33-49 (NKJV)
33 “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
41 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
We have the blessed opportunity in this text once again to consider the relationship between faith and works. None should ever suffer terror on his or her deathbed wondering, as the fateful hour draws near, “Have I done enough? Am I good enough?” We all have fallen short of the glory of God. But Jesus has fulfilled the Law for us. The Holy Spirit creates in us faith that by Jesus’ death and resurrection our sins have been removed from us as far as the East is from the West. God will regard the faithful on the Last Day and judge them not according to their merits, but according to Jesus’ merits.
We rejoice in this Word of truth. Too often, though, we pay no heed to other words of truth when asked, “Why don’t you do the things His Word says?” These are things like forgiving others, and being generous in all ways toward people in need. Instead, we find fault with others and forget that we ourselves are sinners. No, works do not save us, but faith without good works is dead.
We pray: Lord of Heaven and Earth, stir our hearts to express our thankfulness toward You for Your patience and mercy. Help us to do Your selfless acts of goodness toward the people around us in unfeigned love and joy, in the imitation of Christ; in whose holy name we pray. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.