June 18, 2018

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:
In today’s gospel Jesus is telling us not to give into anger, resentment or holding a grudge against those who treat us unfairly or with disrespect.
“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.”
According to Jesus, the way to peace of heart and mind is to surrender:
to swallow our pride and resist our human tendency to get angry when someone tells us what to do.
That seems like a tall order.
It’s difficult for me to imagine someone forcing me to give them the shirt off my back or to carry a heavy burden for a mile and me not being resentful or annoyed.
My first reaction to Jesus’ suggestion is: What do I get out of it?
But upon self-examination, I have to admit that the times I’ve been in emotional turmoil have often been when I have been resisting doing what someone else wants me to do.
God gives us free will, meaning He always allows us “to do as we will.”
But, if we live in pride, anger and retaliation, we will reap discontent and disharmony.
The road to peace of heart and mind is the path of no resistance. That is the essence of God’s way of doing things.
When I am offended, my lesser self and ego scream, “retaliate…an eye for an eye.” But my higher self reminds me that “ego” stands for “easing God out.”
When I return offense for offense, I become a reflection of the one who offends me.
When I refuse to be vengeful, I am imitating Jesus who selflessly accepted death on a cross so others may come to know the pathway to peace of heart and mind.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1