How many of us could “offer no resistance to the wicked,” as Jesus tells us to do in the Gospel today? Can you imagine being loving to your killers, instead of fighting back? After all, we live in the age of “The Terminator,” where getting revenge is not only considered right and lawful—it is pursued with gleeful vengeance! But as Jesus describes God’s will today, it is great-hearted and merciful, going far beyond the bare minimum required by law.
So, if mercy is God’s will, why did the old Jewish law state, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” –doesn’t that sound like a little bloodthirsty? No, the purpose of the old law was not vengeance; it was for justice, to “even things out.” The law limited the amount of revenge someone might take against an offender. “An eye for any eye” was actually the beginning of mercy. It meant that if someone stole some of your sheep, you could not just pull out the big guns and “blow the guy away,” Terminator style. But then, Jesus provokes anger by saying that even “equal justice” is not all that God wants. Jesus says, go the extra mile, freely give without being asked… so Jesus is announcing a complete reversal of the old way of thinking.
Jesus’ statements, especially “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” are meant to provoke us to imagine a God who is beyond anything we’ve ever known. Yes, Jesus preaches a vision of a NEW world, not just an improvement on the old! Jesus shows us what God’s reign of peace and justice will be.
These shocking examples that overturn the normal order of life “reflect the character of God.” But not everyone is happy to learn that this is how God is! Are you? _____________________
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us never put conditions to God and, instead, let hope conquer our fears. To trust God means to enter in His designs without pretending anything, accepting also that His salvation and His help may reach us in a different way from our expectations. We ask the Lord for life, health, affections, happiness, and it is right to do so, but in the awareness that God is able to draw life also from death, that peace can be experienced also in sickness, and that there can be serenity also in solitude and blessedness also in weeping. It is not we who can teach God what He must do, what we are in need of. He knows it better than us, and we must trust Him because His ways and his thoughts are different from ours”(Pope Francis, Angelus address, January 25, 2017)….. May you have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Listen to Sr. Donna’s reflective reading of today’s Gospel: 02.19.17 Gospel
Listen to my homily today: 02.19.17 “The Law Of Joy” Homily.
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish