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Teaching about retaliation

Gospel Reading: Mt 5:38-42

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.”

Reflection Offer no resistance
Jesus teaches us disciples how to treat our enemies, people who are hostile to us and have no respect for us. He tells us that we should not be like them. When they hurt us, we should refrain from hurting them in return. For many people, revenge is sweet, and they are restless till they have retaliated.

Vengeance, however, is not the way of Christians. Disciples are supposed to have extra patience for those who are not trained to follow Christ. If we are vengeful, we cannot live the Beatitudes that ask us to be peacemakers. We cannot inspire others to follow Christ if we have not overcome our natural tendency to get even. To give witness to the Kingdom, Jesus calls us to practice total restraint and maximum tolerance to our enemies.

Violence begets violence. Christians should stop the spiral of violence. There are many other ways to redress and obtain justice. We only have to be creative. We can gain our enemies to our side if we make them our friends, setting aside our pride and showing kindness.

Vengeance is not the way to advance the Kingdom of God. Jesus will suffer “execution in the hands of the powerful” but will not allow hatred to overcome him (cf “Prayer against the Death Penalty”). He will be seen as a loser at first, but ultimately he will become the winner because God is on his side.

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We are on God’s side, as we offer no resistance.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.