Love your enemies
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18, Psalm 103, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20, Matthew 5:38-48
This Sunday’s Gospel conveys Jesus’ teachings as truly radical. Instead of retaliation, Jesus asks us to “right the wrongs” by overcoming evil with goodness, not with revenge. ‘Turn the other cheek’, ‘carry a soldier’s pack not one mile but two’, ‘if someone asks for something, give it’, ‘pray for anyone who mistreats you’. By doing these things we will be acting like our Father in heaven. The readings also ask us not to try to get even, or hold grudges. ‘Love others as much as you love yourself’. Jesus is not advocating passivity, rather he is describing creative, respectful and non-violent ways to respond to people and situations.
Our likeness to God is determined by the way we relate to others. This is the standard that Jesus puts before us. The February 2023 issue of WELCOM features an article written by Cardinal John Dew about Jacinda Adern. Cardinal John writes: “When Jacinda Adern recently resigned as New Zealand’s Prime Minister we saw and heard in the media that she had received death threats, she has been subject to many misogynistic comments, she had been called dreadful names, and referred to with adjectives that should not be applied to any human being”. He goes on to suggest that each of us needs to make a conscious decision not to use negative or insulting adjectives to describe others. “Our Catholic social teaching principle of human dignity is about understanding that each of us is made in God’s image. Every person has an innate human dignity no-one can take away”.
A message we could take out of this week’s readings is that even if we are offended by the views or actions of another, we have a responsibility to show respect and kindness to everyone. No-one deserves to be put down or subject to the abuse suffered so openly by many on social media and other on-line platforms, as well as in person or through violent protest. Let’s ensure that the way we relate to others, in person and on-line, reflects the love and kindness that Jesus models for us.
Markelle Ward – DRS – Garin College