Gospel: Matthew 5:38-42
You have heard, that it was said: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this: do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give him your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked, and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you.
“Do not turn your back on anyone.”
Many people are not comfor table with Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of Beatitudes that there should be no vengeance. That saying “an eye for eye,”“a tooth for a tooth,” should be replaced with a nonviolent stance “turning the other cheek.”
Jesus challenges his followers to develop the ability to absorb hardships and physical injuries to stop the spiral of violence. He will later prove that this is do able when he endures the insults, blows, scourges and crucifixion on Mt. Calvary. It has salvific effect. If his followers are vindic tive, how will they be different from their countrymen and the pagans? How will they gain follo wers of Christ? How will they com municate to people that there is a better or humane way to cope with harsh situations? How will they form communities of love, understanding and forgiveness if they live the culture of vengeance and getting even.
Vindictive people cannot de velop longterm friendships. They are avoided by people who do not want to start a war or engage in a meaningless conflict. Vindictive people are actually not protecting their dignity and freedom which they claim, but actually releasing their perceived power over others.
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