Pastor's Desk: 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 22nd February 2014 in Pastor's Desk

extra-mileOur Gospel reading today sees Jesus dismiss the old Laws of retaliation that were followed by the Jews. That law was established because of the vicious way people would get revenge for any hurts inflicted on them by others. The idea was based on reciprocal justice; what you do to me you will get back in exact measure, it would be “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

Jesus tells his followers that they must not heed that argument or be guided by it for his teaching is this; “But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away”.

The following of this teaching is needed in today’s world as much as it was in the time of Jesus. We see the spiralling violence on our streets; the bitter disputes between family members that can last generations; does the revenge achieve anything? Does anyone feel better for it?

People often say that Jesus was naive and to live this way of turning the other cheek is to be naive too but the truth is, it is the only way to true healing. If we harbour resentment it eats us up, whereas forgiving others truly sets us free and lifts a burden from us. It is not easy to live by this teaching but the other way is no easier.

Fr. Eoin

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