SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
February 18-19, 2017
Breaking Bread Hymnal – pg. 70
Jesus knows his ideas will stretch the understanding, even the tolerance of his listeners. “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”; TURN THE OTHER CHEEK; LOVE YOUR ENEMIES AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU. Really?????
The law limited one’s response to injustice, stipulating that if an eye was taken no more than an eye could be taken in return. The law was offering the kind of compensation one could receive when wronged; now Jesus is saying – no compensation at all, only FORGIVENESS.
But Jesus isn’t finished; not only does he forbid retaliation, Jesus orders love of those who harm us. Love your enemies and persecutors because that is the only way to be a disciple of Jesus and to know peace.
What we are talking about here is nothing short of heroism. And we cannot do this alone. We need the support of God’s grace and our faith community’s love and support to be able to do this. It is only in prayer and service that we can find the strength to move beyond our human repulsion of loving our enemies. Being a disciple of Jesus means acting with gentleness instead of judgment when another has made a mistake; forgiveness instead of retaliation when another has hurt us; patience instead of striking out.
May the Spirit of God’s love give us strength to follow Jesus as a disciple of forgiveness.
Mary Jo Piccolo