The logic of the Gospel

Paul Claudel tells this story in his novel “The tidings brought to Mary”: 

Jacques Hury is working for his fiancée’s father Vercors when he sees someone stealing wood. Jacques is a righteous and very strict man. He wants to cut off this man’s ear because he believes that everyone deserves punishment for their wrongdoings.

When Vercors, sees the situation, he stops James. “What is to be done then?” Jacques asks. “Send him home” answers Vercors. “With his bundle of wood? asks Jacques. “And with another one that you will give him” says Vercors, to which Jacques responds: “Father, that is not right.” Explaining his unusual reaction, Vercors says: “Let me be unjust in very little, lest God be unjust to me in much.”

This is a beautiful example of a teaching that was repeated by Jesus several times during His earthly life and which can be summarized by saying: “we must be merciful if we want God to be merciful with us.” For example: Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you (Lk 6:37-38). This teaching is part of the logic of the Gospel, which is totally contrary to the logic of the world.

The logic of the world is that we benefit our neighbor when we give him something, material things, or even spiritual things such as forgiveness. The logic of the Gospel is that we are the first to be benefited when we give something to our neighbor. In doing good to others, we probably gain no earthly goods, but we gain eternal goods, since doing good to others has eternal weight.

John Chrysostom says that almsgiving is the art of arts because when well exercised, instead of building houses for this earth, it builds us eternal dwellings. Even more, St. Gregory says that in the days of our Last Judgment, those whom we have helped will intercede for us: “But if through their friendship we obtain everlasting habitations, we ought to calculate that when we give, we rather offer presents to intercessors, than bestow benefits upon the needy” (The Catena Aurea Gospel of Saint Luke, 16).

Daily homily


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