Today we read the last of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain’ Coming to the end of the speech, a good speaker will try to sum up and underline what is really important so that people will remember the main points. In his conclusion Jesus stressed that his disciples must learn to be true to themselves in words, thoughts and actions. Jesus uses three images taken from daily life to illustrate his point: a blind leader, a master and his disciple, the tree and its fruit. Jesus’ radical message must transform our lives if we want to bear good fruit and be disciples and leaders of others.
The Gospel of today continues the Sermon on the Plain. The challenge is to love differently from what is the normal way of loving. The world invites people to love those who love them and to repay evil for evil. However, Jesus invites his disciples to act differently. They are to use goodness of heart to overcome evil in the world and in their lives because they have seen the example of God himself. Jesus shows that love is revolutionary and can turn the world upside down.
In Lk 6:12-16, Jesus spent a full night in prayer and then called twelve men from among his disciples, whom he called ‘apostles’, the sent ones. Luke will use the title apostle only for those twelve chosen ones. Together with the other disciples they are the ones who hear the Great Sermon of Jesus on the Plain (Lk 6:17:7:1) which we start reading today. In his teaching Jesus shows where true happiness lies and warns that those who are trying to be sons and daughters of God often miss it. The standards of the world are not those of God. Jesus’ way of looking at life turns upside down our usual ideas and values.
Today’s Gospel follows the experience of Jesus in Nazareth that we read the past two Sundays. There he was first admired but later on rejected by his people (Lk 4:16-30). After some healing in Capernaum (Lk $:31-41) he prays in a lonely place (Lk 4:4243). Jesus comes back to the shores of Lake Gennesaret to teach a crowd eager to hear his word. Peter, James and John are invited to actually follow him. They leave their work and their family and friends to walk with him. Jesus teaches, challenges and calls the whole crowd. All listen eagerly but only some will be invited to follow him more closely.