Wow! The Gospel we hear this week challenges every one of us – to the max! It calls us as children of God to live not of this world, but to live as of the Kingdom of God, where love is lived to the fullest.
When things are going our way and we are pretty much getting along with the people around us; in our families, at work or school, it is less difficult to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We are inclined to offer love when we are being loved and shown kindness by others. However, when someone sins against us or speaks of us in unkind words or would rather harm us than care for us, Jesus challenges us to return nothing but love. He tells us to offer no resistance to one who is evil, to love our enemy and to pray for them. “If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other as well.” It seems contrary to caring for one’s self. Would Jesus not want us to care for ourselves, to stand up against someone who harms us?
To be sure the thought of this is challenging, but what Jesus is trying to teach is that the way the world and society deals with things, is not the way of our heavenly Father. Jesus challenges us saying, “So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” That is a tall order for any disciple! In many ways humanity is being stretched to the limit in order to understand what it truly means to love; to love completely and to live in the wholeness of love with one another. Jesus is teaching us that God’s ways are supreme to our ways. God is divine. We are human. Jesus invites us, encourages us, to work toward the divine, that we might come to know the fullness of the gift of God’s love.
Let us keep this Gospel in mind as we live our daily lives. Perhaps it will save us and others from the hurt of angry words or perhaps our actions of kindness toward an enemy will provide a role model for others. It will take a lifetime of practicing what Jesus is teaching and only by God’s grace could we hope to know perfection. However, what we do know by faith is that we are not alone in our efforts; God is with us!
With gratitude and hope,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC