Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, June 14
May Each of Us Pay God’s Love Forward, Imitating the Selfless Nature of His Love for Us in Our Relationship with Others.
We begin this Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time with the Scriptural verse which we have all heard before, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
In contrast, our Lord is telling us in today’s Gospel, “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well…Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles” – ideas which appear so foreign and unrealistic in the world which we live today.
It seems that every time we turn on the television or open a newspaper, the news headlines are filled with acts of violence, especially the horrendous killings in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Turkey, as well as terrorist attacks in the United States, London, England, Paris, France and other parts of the world. Whether violence is perpetrated in the name of religion, or for personal acts of revenge or greed, individuals, society and nations tend to legitimize their actions by justifying them as a means to a necessary end.
Our faith teaches us that this is in direct contradiction to God’s Law. And our Lord, in today’s Gospel, goes to great lengths teaching us what God expects of us!
The age old expression, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, can be found in the Book of Leviticus from the Old Testament. In our language, and the way we apply it to life today, it signifies revenge and retaliation.
However, in the old Law of the Jewish people, it was an attempt to limit retaliation. The Law was created to urge restraint and limit acts of violence, so that they would not escalate beyond the original harm done. In essence, the Law was telling the Jewish people, “An eye for an eye, no more! Do no worse to your enemy than what he has done to you.”
However, Jesus was telling us that we must show even more restraint if we are to live a life of virtue, lives which are filled with love, mercy and compassion.
And the love which God is asking each of us to live in our daily lives is to be a selfless love – an unselfish, total giving of self for the needs of others. And it is this act of total selflessness about which Paul is writing in our First Reading for today.
“We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves…through much endurance…”
“…in everything we commend ourselves…” Paul was no slacker! He never procrastinated in doing God’s work, and he was spiritually, emotionally and physically driven to give His all, to be all that Christ was asking of Him – for the sake of building up the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
And Christ asks no less of us, for our Lord tells us in the Book of Revelation, “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth.”
In other words, for those of us who have been given the gift of the Spirit at Baptism and strengthened at Confirmation, for those of us who are fed at nourished with the Bread of Life at the Eucharistic Table, God expects much of us, because He has given us much!
To embrace the god of the marketplace, to be selfish in the way we live out our lives, to be judgmental over the faults or shortcomings of others, to give in to the temptations of the flesh – all separate us from the selfless Love of Christ; and all such actions reject the Sacrificial Act of His Passion and Death on Calvary which Christ freely embraced for our sake.
Paul tells us that He has given everything for the sake of Christ, and our Lord tells us to be much more than just lukewarm in the living out of our faith. He teaches us today to go that “extra mile” for the sake of our brothers and sisters – for the sake of a total and unselfish giving of love.
It is in this total selfless giving of ourselves wherein we imitate the self-sacrificing nature of Eternal Love which we see embodied on the Cross.
And if Christ loves us that much, can we do no less? If He was willing to lay down His very life for you and me, can we not do just a little bit more for others?
I am sure many of us remember a movie that came out several years ago. It was called “Pay It Forward”, and it was a story based upon a fictional novel, in which a young boy became determined to change the world into a better place for all to live, through the premise that if someone does you a good turn, you do not repay the favor done; rather you pay it forward, doing something nice for someone else.
As a result of the novel and the movie, a real-life social movement was formed titled the “Pay It Forward Foundation”, which educates and inspires students worldwide to think and act selflessly for the good of others.
And it is through their acts of selfless love, which fly-in-the-face of the cultural selfishness which we find in many of our world’s societies, which has made a positive difference in many people’s lives. It is through their acts of selfless love which emulate the Love which Christ showed for us on the Cross.
Again, the question begs to be asked, “Can we do no less? And, if we can do more, then when?” Saint Paul tells us today, “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
As God proved His Love for both you and me by stretching His arms out wide upon His Cross, may each of us pay God’s Love forward, imitating the selfless nature of His Love for us in our relationship with others, for now is a very acceptable time to love selflessly, to love others as Christ loves us.
Now is the day of our salvation! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Anyone who inflicts an injury on his neighbor shall receive the same in return. Limb for limb, eye for eye, tooth for tooth! The same injury that a man gives another shall be inflicted on him in return.” (Leviticus 24:19-20)
- “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.” (Matthew 5:38-41)
- “We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts.” (2 Corinthians 6:3-5)
- “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
- “…we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (1 Corinthians 6:1-2 ~ Isaiah 49:8abc)
- “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? …So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead…Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.” (James 2:14, 17, 18b)
- “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance.” (Colossians 3:23-24a)
- “…your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16)
Prayer for the Day
“Gracious and loving God,cf. Our Journey toward Selfless Love (Diocese of Tucson)
You call us to walk with Your Son,
Jesus Christ, in this, our journey of faith.
“Help us to grow to become more like Him
in overcoming temptations to be self-centered,
to attend only to our own needs.
“Help us to recognize the dignity
of every human being, welcoming, accepting
and understanding others as Christ did,
never being judgmental or condescending.
“Help us to see the pain within others
and to respond with Christ’s compassion and mercy.
Unite us in our efforts to uphold the life and dignity
of all from conception to natural death.
“As we journey with Christ
through His Passion, Death and Resurrection,
may we learn from Him the meaning of selfless love.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”