A reflection on Matthew 5:38-48, the Gospel for February 23, 2014, the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
This week’s Gospel is certainly not easy to live out.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. But that hurts!
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. But it’s mine, I earned it!
Should anyone press you into services for one mile, go for two miles. But I’m busy and far too tired!
Every statement in today’s Gospel emulates God’s love for us. He gave his whole self, and yet he continues to turn the other cheek when we reject Him and His teachings. His love does not lessen, no matter our actions. He desires us to have that same love for each other. It is not easy to do in an imperfect world, but we need to step outside our comfort zone.
What do you have to lose by extending yourself?
Better yet, what do you have to gain?
The losses are temporary, and the gains far outnumber them. If we never venture beyond the sense of security, we never grow.
A baby could very well remain helpless for the rest of their lives. Most have all their needs fulfilled by others, and are largely care-free. But they were created for more, and so they strive for more. Are a baby’s first steps without trepidation? Of course not. But they still take them, because by doing so a whole new realm of possibilities is opened.
When teaching a baby to walk, often times one parent will be supporting the child, while the other is a short distance away with arms open. The first parent releases the child, and waits with baited breath. The other beckons the child, encouraging them. Both parents are there to catch the child if they fall, and also to celebrate when the child is successful. This is parallel to God’s support whenever we strive for sainthood.
Picture a parent twirling their child in the air after the first steps. What if God was that elated each time you extended yourself righteously? (Hint: He is!)
Isn’t that alone worth it?