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.
— Matthew 5:38-42
The peace of the Lord be with you. Our Gospel reading today, scholars say, focuses on retaliation and vengeance. Jesus is making reference to Leviticus and laws about how to moderately handle injury or conflict.
Just like in many other instances, Jesus seeks to transform this law into something that more accurately depicts how God works and how we are to interact with each other. Jesus, not only voices this to us, but he also lives out these words as he enters into his passion and crucifixion. This is a major challenge that Jesus is issuing today.
Can you imagine what the world be like if we allowed God to be the only judge; the only purveyor of justice? Is it possible that much of our most violent conflicts and deepest divisions would be avoided? It is a lot to think about. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.