“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Romans authored the political and social rules of first-century Palestine. Though their rules were designed to fetter Jewish political freedom, Jesus was more concerned with how they stifled spiritual and religious freedom.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus issues his followers new rules for a new Kingdom. When followers of Jesus turned their faces or handed over their cloaks along with their tunics, their message wasn’t “I give up,” but, “I refuse to play by your rules. I refuse to be drawn into violence and fear.” What seemed like a passive response to injustice, was actually the active co-creation of God’s Kingdom.
From an Ignatian perspective, the new rules are about dropping our attachments to prescribed violence, stubbornness, and enmity. Like all disordered attachments or addictions, they injure our relationships and inhibit our freedom to fully respond to God’s love.
—Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
Lord Jesus, we want to follow you with our whole hearts, but sometimes our attachments get in our way. Help us to let go of all things that keep us from loving you and loving our neighbor. May we always chose that which allows us to freely and fully say yes to your workings in our lives. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!