JUNE 14. Ord Time. B. Wk 11. Mon. Mt. 5. 38-42
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.’
It is very easy to “overlook” that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and he came among us, not only to redeem us, but to teach us! “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” – “He who follows me will have the Light of Life!” – “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart!”
And it is clear from today’s Gospel; - today’s “teaching”; - God’s “wisdom” is very different from the “wisdom” of the world.
And when we analyse the differences, we find their cause is to be found in the truth “God is Love” and, as a result, everything he does has its origins in “Love!”
Mankind does not give nearly enough attention to “Love” and to what it demands, but when we do we quickly agree that, at its heart, is the need to “Give”; - to put the interests and needs of those we “love” before our own interests.
And nobody has “loved” us more than Jesus Christ, a truth borne out for all to see with even the most casual observation of his life; - and death; - in the Gospels; - where he showed us what “love” demands.
And his “teachings” are all about educating us, and inviting us, to do the same; - to “love” God and neighbour.
In today’s Gospel Christ illustrates the difference between the “wisdom of the world”, and “the wisdom of God”, or more precisely the Love of the World, and the Love of God, when he tells us the world’s way is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!”
What this amounts to in practice is to always put ourselves first, and if you do something that offends or hurts me then I will retaliate and do the same to you. This is not something we acknowledge very often but the truth is it is at the heart of so much human interaction.
In short, it amounts to putting ourselves first at all costs or, to put it another way, to “loving ourselves”; - and mankind has become very good at it; - putting our own needs and desires ahead of not only our neighbor; - but the God who created us?
Jesus Christ came among us to teach another way; - the way of true love which is totally opposed to the way of self-love; - and most of us readily acknowledge the Christian way of life leads to a better quality of life; - not only for ourselves, but also for those around us; - the ones we “love!”
Sadly, the reason we do not follow Christ’s teachings is they demand self-denial and sacrifice!
But this is the challenge, and invitation, Christ not only puts before us; - but it is a way of life he first lived himself; - leaving us with the ultimate decision; - to love God, or to love ourselves!
Gospel Acclamation Ps118:105
Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light on my path.