You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The temptation to “get even” has long been a human weakness. We discovered this “skill” early in our lives and thus we recognize it easily in today’s gospel. Do we not recall as youngsters having learned through the guidance of parents and the careful direction of teachers that retaliation was wrong and would never bring about a happy ending? Jesus also made that perfectly clear when he quoted the familiar maxim “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” in order to engage his followers in a greater recognition of living in the true Christian spirit. (We understand now that this Old Testament point of law is so often misunderstood.)
Vengeance and resentment must be avoided and replaced by a cheerful response, a willingness to forgive, and the eagerness to be of service. It all adds up to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves – a solid piece of advice from Jesus! How will I practice this lesson today?
—Sr. Ann Romayne Fallon, O.P. is an Adrian Dominican sister with notable experience in high school and diocesan administration. Currently she provides pastoral ministry to the Dominican community in Adrian MI.
Lord, when we have been so hurt, how are we to forgive? When we have been treated with deceit, abandonment, or broken promises how are we to forgive? Lead us toward forgiveness and toward well-being as we take this journey.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team