Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. 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.
‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
The Gospel we heard on Sunday, the Sunday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time, challenges us and encouraged in equal measure.
The encouragement comes in the form of a reminder of God’s love for us, awaking us to the blessings that surround us.
The challenge is not to hog goodness to ourselves, but to be ready to share it, even to extend it to others who we fear (sometimes, it transpires without good cause).
We are called to grow into the likeness of God, not to contribute to the fracturing of God’s Creation.
Peace and Division. Bethlehem. (c) 2007, Allen Morris