Monday, June 13, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 5:38-42

Monday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 5:38-42

The teaching in today’s Gospel is difficult.  Jesus says to his listeners: “You have been taught, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  However, I tell you do not even try to get even with a person who has offended you, slandered you, or hurt you.  If someone slaps your right cheek, turn and give them your left cheek.  If a person needs your shirt, generously give them your coat as well.  If a person asks you for something, simply give it to them. 

These sayings of Jesus go against most of the thought that has been in our cultures for centuries.  Every day we hear of gang wars, innocent bystanders being shot and killed, senseless acts of violence, abuse of children and spouses.   We could go on and on!  And yet, acts of violence do not create any peace or security at all.  Rather, they create a great deal of fear and anxiety in our world, no matter where we live.  We all know that each one of us is vulnerable.  There are no guarantees that any one of us is safe and secure.  

We now are in the year 2016, over two thousand years after Jesus came to earth.  Throughout these 2,000 years, Jesus and the Church has continued to teach us this new way for centuries.  Despite this fact, every day, all over the world, acts of violence are perpetrated on the innocents.  Jesus’ message was countercultural in His day and it remains countercultural today.  Violence does not stop violence.  Abuse kills women, men, and children every day.

Can you and I do anything to change our world?  I believe we can by being loving and caring.  We can care for the poorest among us instead of ignoring them or pretending not to see them!  We can be loving instead of indifferent.  This is what Jesus did and it is what Jesus also calls us to do.

As you “go about your day” today, open your mind, your heart, and your eyes to the people you encounter.  Reach out and gift them with 10 seconds of your time and attention.  It may be as simple as looking them in the eyes instead of brushing by them.  And who knows: someone may gift you with 30 seconds of their time and attention.  Thirty seconds is a gift that may last a lifetime!

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