A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 5:38-42:
38 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, (An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.)
39 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.
40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.
41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
6/13/2022 Gospel Reflection: Good deeds versus Bad deeds
The instructions of Jesus in our gospel above must be applied in the proper context. It cannot be used to support the continuation of abuse for example. Turning the other cheek is meant to shame the abuser, not to perpetuate injustice. Offering no resistance to evil is meant to do good so that the evildoer might be converted. Even in our modern society, a wrong deed cannot be corrected by another wrong deed. Likewise, offering your other tunic is meant for those who have lots of tunics. Think about a poor widow who has no extra clothing. Jesus definitely does not intend for her to go naked!
The central teaching of Jesus is love and therefore all other teachings must be understood in terms of loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Thus, the gospel above must also be applied in the context of the greatest commandment. If everyone is full of love, there would be no slapping of cheeks or even going to court for the simplest problem over shirts and skirts. Moreover, if you love your enemy as Jesus has taught, you will not intend to do him any harm but instead to forgive him or her and to pray for his or her conversion. After all, revenge has no place in the heart of a Christian.
What Jesus requires of His disciples is for them to be as perfect as they can be. This means that anyone who follows Him must endeavor to be good at all times and to be better human beings than non-believers. Whoever said that let us be good even if others are not is a kind soul.
If you are an employer and a worker of yours performs more than what is expected of him or her, you would be happy of course. You will do everything to keep him or her from going to another employer. This is the power of going the extra mile.
Dear Jesus, I pray for divine guidance so that I will know how to behave with love in every circumstance. Grant that only goodness will fill my heart and mind and that I may show goodness to others even to those who do not like me. Amen.