June 15, 2020

Gospel MT 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

Reflection

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.”

At first glance it may seem that offering “no resistance” is a tall order. But even a brief reflection brings the realization that to demand an “eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” would leave everyone blind and toothless.

Jesus tells us there is a better way.

“When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

Nowadays we would say we were killing them with kindness.

I have tried Jesus’ way of offering no resistance with those who have offended me. Sometimes I have been successful and other times I have failed.

When I am able to turn the other cheek or do something kind in return when I’ve been offended, I have experienced great peace of mind and heart.

However, when I respond to an unkind act with a nasty remark or an equally unkind act, I am left feeling angry and bitter.

My friend and mentor, Fr. Richard Sullivan, C.S.C., (deceased) taught me that all “sin” can be defined as “selfishness” and all acts of “love” defined as “selflessness.”

When my pride and ego demand I return evil for evil is when my selfish-self dominates my heart and I feel empty and alone.

When I react to an “unkindness” with a kind response, my heart radiates the selflessness (the love) of Jesus and I am at peace and at one with God.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop