In Your Face

June 19, 2017
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Matthew 5:38-42

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.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)

There is a famous anecdote of St. Mother Teresa wherein she was holding a hungry child while begging for bread in a bakery in the streets of Calcutta. She was asking for a piece of bread for the hungry child to eat but instead of giving bread, the baker spat at Mother Teresa and gestured them to go away. Instead of retaliating violently, she just said, “Thank you for that gift for me. Now, may I have something for the child?” There is something revolutionary in the way Christians accept physical violence while remaining open to moral, even psychological resistance. It is like saying, “You can break my body, but you can never break my spirit!” Martyrs have this spirit like St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, that despite the horrific physical evil done unto them at Auschwitz, they stood resolute about their moral convictions and they not just acquiesce passively. They mirrored to their oppressors the evil they are doing to them while remaining firm and steadfast in faith and charity.

The Gospel today invites us to inspire a change of heart from the people who oppress us not in a violent way, but the way of Christ. As we sin, we might as well be the very people who tortured and crucified Him on the cross. But instead of physically resisting, Jesus embraced suffering for us so that when we look at Him on the cross, we can see the pain and suffering we have brought upon an innocent man, the Son of God, and move us to change and repent.

As we stand resolute in our moral convictions about the issues our country is facing today, e.g. Death Penalty, RH Law, Extrajudicial Killings, etc. may we remain meek and gentle amidst the persecutions but never waver in our convictions that is grounded on Christian truth and values, while witnessing Christ’s love and patience, in order to inspire the change of heart our country needs. Amen.

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