Scripture: 1st Reading: 2Cor6,1-10; Resp. Psalm: Ps98,1-4; Gosp. Accl.: Ps119,105; Gospel: Mt5,38-42
Revenge is sweet, so we hear it said over and over again by people who have experienced deep hurt in their lives. Revenge in this instance is seen as a just response and recompense for the wrong and evil committed. There are people who live their entire lives on this mission to pay back, to hit back harder, to exert vengeance. By trying to do this, people of this kind do not live life, but live an obsession; they do not live in freedom but bondage! The need to pay back becomes the driving force of their lives and they become paranoid. Sadly there are believers who are of this ilk.
In direct opposite stands the word of God in today's gospel passage. Our Lord here is not some kind of sentimental pacifist or an incredibly naive person not to know that the basic human instinct is to pay back evil for evil. But that is where His words are good news always. This is where His message is forever relevant and completely contradistinct from the messages of many founders of religion.
In the sermon on the mount, our Lord brought the Mosaic prescription to completion. Instead of the law of an eye for an eye, our Lord proposed a radical response: "do not resist one who is evil." In a teaching that has continued to puzzle and unnerve believers down through the ages, our Lord directed His followers in this radical way: "if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
Little wonder that the Christian life is a vocation to follow a Person, Jesus of Nazareth. It is a radical choice: He made that choice; He chose us; we did not choose Him. The radical, "non human" response of a believer in certain circumstances of life expressly demonstrate the fundamental option they have made to follow Christ radically. The response of a believer in such circumstances show him out as one who follows a different law, a different code of behaviour, that is diametrically opposed to the world's code of conduct.
This is where our first reading today comes in. The word of God challenges us not to accept the grace of God in vain. It challenges us to see beyond the present to the future glory that is to be given to us if we persevere to the end. The believer is admonished to exercise great endurance in such situations, to display the weapons of righteousness, to be the veritable sign of contradiction to a world whose values are turned upside down!
Such is the life the Lord invites us to daily. He does pretend not to know that this demands acts of daily sacrifices from us and that we will never arrive at the perfection of grace in one day. This is why He speaks to us daily in His word and invites us to make the word our own. Let us listen to the voice of the Lord today and enter into His peace.
Let us pray: God our Heavenly Father, you have called us into fellowship with your Son. We want to be like Him. Remove from our hearts those hurtful feelings that push us to revenge the wrongs done to us. Give us the grace to learn from the example of life that Jesus your Son left us. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. May this week be truly blessed for each and everyone of us.