The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 20th February 2011


To allow someone to walk all over you is never a good idea, and, no matter how it might seem, it is not what Jesus is suggesting for us in today's gospel passage either.  To offer the other cheek to the one who hits you and to pray for your enemies seems ridiculous but we really have to look on it in the context of what this passage is really about - love your neighbour as yourself.

It is so easy to react when people mistreat us.  Our first instinct is to defend ourselves which so often means to retaliate.  This is to act without thinking.  This is to base our actions on self-preservation.  This is not what Jesus asks of his disciples.

Our actions should be informed by our values.  That is to say that if we believe certain things are important then we should never do anything that would go against that basic value.  What Jesus presents us with is a challenge that I don't think anyone lives up to completely.  It is a challenge to only act in a way that is consistent with our values and not to be influenced by our anger or our need for revenge or our need to feel better.  The core value for the disciples of Jesus is love, specifically love of the other.  This is not something that we can water down when it suits us - and the test of this dilution will be our actions.  Actions are concrete things which can express (or not) our values.  Jesus challenges his followers to be consistent in our actions, coherent with what we profess to believe and convinced about our standpoint vis a vis a world and a society which often favours the strong or the wealthy or the influential.

Presenting your cheek to be struck by the one who has already hit you is not the point.  The point is rather: before you react, stop.  Stop and think.  Think about the things that are really important to you and ask yourself what is the way to address this situation.  To put it simplistically we could ask ourselves the question: "What would Jesus do?"

This is never going to be an easy task as the most difficult decisions about our actions are often taken in the context of highly emotional situations.  However, this challenge is at the heart of what we believe as Christians.

Possidius




Article posted on 19th of February 2011

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