Greetings on this the Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Cor 6:1-10; PS 98:1, 2b, 3ab, 3cd-4; Mt 5:38-42
Note: Summertime reflections will use various formats. I hope you enjoy them.
In this one sentence (2 Cor 6:1-10) is a sentence worthy of a lifetime of study so magnificent it is and containing within the ways of the spiritual life with Jesus. Paul certainly exhibits the characteristics of unfeigned love and truthful speech.
In this reading Paul brings forward three distinct themes:
- Trinity (although not identified as such)
It is useful for us to list them here in a more readable form for study.
I’ll use this elsewhere and in other writings.
For today, we shall say true apostolic following is identifiable as someone who is “All In“.
(you may quibble with some items, no problem)
The Lord has made known his salvation.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
This portion of the gospel of Matthew, is the collection of “You have heard it said“
- About Anger
- About Adultery
- About Divorce
- About Oaths
- About Retaliation
- About Hating Enemies
Which are always paired with an antithesis of “But I say“. Some modifying/deepen the commandments and some outright rejected old testament commandments as they were practiced.
In today’s gospel portion, Jesus rejects the old testament commandment of moderating vengeance of proportionate retaliation (Ex 21:24, related Lev 24:19-20). Rather he proposes his follower a new response.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. (Ex 21:24, related Lev 24:19-20)
But I say to you:
- Do not return violence for violence – your instincts/emotions
- Do not protect your tunic and cloak – possessions (more on this)
- Do not resist forced labor – your energy/time (2x the required distance of Roman Law)
- Give generously – your almsgiving
- Do not fail to lend your possessions – your community living/friendship.
It is a radical departure and Paul in the first reading lived exactly this way.
How can we ever live like this? IMPOSSIBLE!!
No, not impossible!
The person of Jesus speaking and the witness of Paul living life gives us the answer:
It is possible to do as Jesus commands (“but I say”) in the:
- Unfeigned Love/Truthful Speech of Jesus
- Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
- and in the power of God.
We really can do these things well and the wellspring of strength is Jesus.
(Summer is here in seven more days).
Peace be with you,