Monday, February 14, 2011

Gospel Text for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

1 comment:

  1. Matthew 5.38-48

    The image of a soldier holding and comforting the enemy’s child cuts to the heart of Jesus’ instruction to the disciple on what it means to follow Him, what it means to not only fulfill but to exceed the law in being just or righteous.

    All around him the soldiers are being obedient to the law of their commanders and their country. They are acting out of obedience. There is nothing wrong with that. But this one soldier is answering to a higher law, a law for righteous living. He is acting out of compassion. He is loving his enemy, caring for one of the "least among us." God’s love and compassion shine (or rain) on everyone – everyone and God has a special heart for the weak. This one soldier is acting in imitation of God. He is being “perfect, as (his) heavenly Father is perfect.”

    God IS asking a lot of me – to love those whom it is most difficult to love – to seek peace rather than retaliation. The question is, how? How can I love my enemies and seek creative solutions to evil and violence?

    For me the only way to approach this is to put my faith in God – God for whom all things are possible. Rather than rely on my self, when faced with the difficult situation of loving a person who has genuinely hurt me, I turn to Jesus and pray; “Lord, walk with me, give me the eyes to see as You see, the will to act as You act, the heart to love as You love. Show me a way beyond my conditioned emotional response, beyond my desire for my personal gain. Make me the instrument of Your love.” And I wait and listen for the movement of the Holy Spirit to inspire me with a new and creative response to the person who has hurt me. Sometimes the wait is long, and it is hard to do nothing. Sometimes I am surprised by a glimmer of light or an inspired word. Always I am relieved when I put my faith in Christ’s love rather than in my pain, affliction or fear.

    Jesus promised the disciples he would be with them “until the end of the age.” And so I trust He is with me and for me when I am confronted with violence, evil or my enemies.