7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the Gospel, as Jesus continues to teach his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, He again reminds His hearers that more is expected of His disciples than what was laid down in the Old Testament. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’….”
But Jesus proposes a quite different approach. “Do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also. If anyone wants to sue you . . . and take your coat, give your cloak as well; if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile…” “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.” What an impractical formula! How could any self-respecting person follow such impish advice?
Does he really expect genuine human beings to react this way to hostility and violence? How can we possibly love people who do us harm, whom we know to be evil, wicked and corrupt?
Our natural reaction is to easily take revenge on an enemy. What He challenges us is to do the unnatural—to exercise love towards our enemies. This is exactly what Jesus asks of us if we want to be His disciples—to die to our natural feelings and take on the magnanimous and forgiving heart of Jesus. He forgave his enemies on the cross.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fray Onz Antonio, OAR