When is the best time for someone to turn to the Lord? To give their life to Jesus? The answer is NOW! St. Paul says as much in our first reading today from 2 Corinthians 6. “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” If you’re hesitating in any way about giving your life more fully to God, meditate on these words. The time is now!
In our Gospel reading today from Matthew 5, we hear Jesus’ famous admonition to “turn the other cheek.” This phrase can be difficult to understand. It must be taken within the greater context of teaching of Christ. Be sure to read today’s passage to get the big picture. This does not mean that we are not allowed to defend ourselves from one who wishes to cause us physical harm. We can do so in an appropriate manner. Backhanding someone on the right cheek was a form of insult. Jesus’ saying was meant to teach in the broad context about retaliation.
When we’re wounded – physically, yes, but even more emotionally – our first instinct is to strike back. We want to get back at our attacker with guns a-blazin’. The office gossip, the jealous co-worker, the ex that can ‘t seem to move on. Jesus tells us that retaliation is not the way. Temperance, prudence and yes, love, must rule the day and rule our hearts. As hard as it may be, the best way to “retaliate” is to kill them with kindness.
Father, forgive us for the times we take on “an eye for an eye” attitude. Teach us to be people of forgiveness and kindness. Amen.