< <  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

  > >

7th Sunday Ordinary Time

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
Matthew 5:38-48

View Readings
Similar Reflections

turn the other cheek

"But what I say to you is: offer no resistance to injury." —Matthew 5:39

Jesus sounds so naive. Everybody knows we must resist injury. Jesus says that after we've been hit on one cheek, we should turn the other. We'll seemingly get killed if we take His advice. However, the Sermon on the Mount is not "advice"; it is the Lord's command. Nonetheless, we rationalize that Jesus' message in the Sermon on the Mount is poetic, symbolic, anything but literal.

Sometimes Jesus does not speak literally, like when He said to gouge out our eye (Mt 5:29). So we're tempted to assume the Sermon on the Mount, especially this part of it, must not be literal. Yet Jesus did literally turn the other cheek, hand over His garments and walk the extra mile, even up Mount Calvary to be crucified (Mt 5:39-41). If we deny that the Sermon on the Mount is literal, we may be denying that we must imitate the crucified Christ. Jesus is literally calling us to make a U-turn, and live a radically different lifestyle. Following Jesus is not just a modification of a worldly life, but an utterly new way to live.

Will you decide to be a Christian on Jesus' terms — not as other people are, not as you want, but as He wills? Accept the Preacher and the preaching of the Sermon on the Mount.

Prayer:  Jesus, it's impossible to be a Christian without Your constant amazing grace. Pour out the Holy Spirit in my life.

Promise:  "For the wisdom of this world is absurdity with God." —1 Cor 3:19

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, humble and obedient Son of God. Your acceptance of Your Father's will heralded our freedom. Alleluia!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Meeting the Risen Christ on audio AV 4A-1 or video V-4A.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.