The Good News for the Day, June [19-20], 2017 (I erred on dates)
Monday [Tuesday] of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time (365)
Jesus says to his followers: “You have always heard people tell you, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I am telling you, though, not to offer resistance to anyone evil. When someone slaps your right cheek, just make the other one available, too. If somebody wants to sue you for the shirt off your back—offer him your coat. Should somebody bully you into taking something for a mile, go with him another mile. Give to anybody who asks you for something, and do not get evasive when somebody wants to borrow something.” (Matthew 5)
And this is exactly how the world works—how your own instinct works. You get hurt, you fight back. You get hurt, you defend yourself. You get hurt, you harbor revengeful thoughts. Someone bullies you—you resist. And so on. It is true of you and me—and many, many individuals and groups. It is—or seems—as natural as nature. We call it “second-nature.”
Perhaps these few words are the hardest things to do in practice! People call you weak and stupid; people disdain you for religiosity and being too literal; and others—good friends and family—failing to see what you see—that everybody is your family, the Family of God.
You see the bully with compassion. You forgive and attacker. You give generously—judged unwise to so many culturally attuned to selfishness and defensiveness. Even to yourself, you feel foolish giving something that you feel sure will not come to you. But that is what makes you different—holy, sacred. It is God’s world, not yours—His Ways, not yours.
This is hard. It is easy to say you believe this, or pray for that. It is easy to talk about virtue and criticize evil. What is hard is to do this—to love and forgive and care about men and women hostile to you. They “push your buttons,” and aggravate. The Good News remains your outlook—that, at peace, you see them as part of your own heart and soul and body.