January 5, Year B

Inspired by Luke 6:27-31

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-28 (NRSV)

To live a truly Christian lifestyle is to set oneself against the prevailing cultural norms. Prioritizing God above all else calls into question society’s pursuit of material goods, social status, and power, and many who are beholden to the ways of the world feel threatened by Christians, and attack them.

The human response to such attacks is to become defensive, perhaps even launching counterattacks meant to highlight the superiority of the Christian way. But while such responses might be human, they are not Christian.

Jesus was attacked for his countercultural message and actions. More than that, he was killed for them. Yet he knew that fighting back in all the expected ways would be letting the world set the terms for salvation, and the world simply was not capable of achieving salvation on its own terms. So instead he met hate with love, greed with generosity, violence with peace, and, ultimately, death with life. Living according to those values is certainly difficult, and somewhat contrary to human nature, but those are the values that Christ lived by, and Christ is what makes us Christian.

Let us pray. Lord of peace, your gentle and loving spirit defined your earthly life. Grant us the ability to live according to that same spirit, that we may show the world your love on your terms. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.