Monday, June 19, 2017

Gospel Words For Today: An Eye For An Eye

Years ago I was visiting my sister and nieces in Colorado a few weeks before Christmas. We were in the shopping mood and went to Flatirons Mall outside of Boulder. It was freezing, snowing and windy that day, the worst combination for this thin-blooded Floridian! The great thing about shopping in Colorado during the winter is all the summer clothes are on clearance. Perfect gifts for my daughters in Florida. After hours of shopping, we made our way out to valet parking (it was much too cold for my sister to park herself). There is a small enclosed seating area behind the valet attendant providing warmth to weary shoppers. The girls and I huddled together in this cozy little haven with shopping bags surrounding our feet, trying to stay warm. Luckily all my gifts fit into the big A & F bag I snuggled between my legs as we shivered. As our car pulled up, we all made a mad dash for it, grabbing our bargains and treasures from the day's outing. No sooner did we get in the car, I noticed my bag was missing. I thought I may have kicked it under the bench as I helped my nieces grab their bags. My sister turned the car around and drove back to the valet. I jumped out only to find there weren't any bags, or people, in the seating area. Gone. All the gifts I bought to give my daughters vanished. My sister kept the car running as my nieces and I retraced our steps and ended up at Lost and Found. Nothing. The girls (probably 10 and 13 at the time) were so upset for me. Trying not to put a damper on our Christmas spirit, I told them that whoever stole the clothes needed them more than we did. So I wished the thieves a Merry Christmas. We all giggled, then sprinted out the mall doors to the warmth of my sister's car.

After reading today's Gospel (Matthew 5:38-42), the situation above came to mind. But when the offense is perceived as unforgivable, how do we interpret and apply the following?

Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."

Man, this is a tough one. Probably one of the hardest lessons Jesus preached, but a virtue worth attaining.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers from the Cross, she illuminates how evil influences:

"To clarify, we must not allow Satan to persuade us that the people around us are like him. Satan will always try to destroy what is good and holy. He will try to tempt us against each other. He will try to persuade us that we are being treated badly or worse than we are or that we are owed something from someone that they either cannot give or do not understand that they owe or that they do not even possess. I am searching and hoping to land, randomly if necessary, on the way the devil works against God's willed relationships. How often have we worked ourselves into a full-fledged war against someone only to find out the person never fired the first shot? I am talking about
misunderstandings and assumptions . . ."

Lay apostles, Jesus isn't asking us to lay down and be doormats. He is telling us to peacefully walk away. Take no revenge. Hold no grudges. Hate the sin, not the sinner!

Thank you, Lord, for enhancing my ability to remain humble and go the extra mile when You need me to. It sure is a long walk sometimes, but I can do anything with You by my side!

God bless,

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