Monday, June 15, 2015

More than pacifism?: Daily Mass Homily--Monday, June 15th, 2015

(Listen to this homily here).

             We heard some of the powerful words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount this morning.  Matthew 5:38-42, like the rest of this sermon, flips conventional norms on their head.  He showed what the Law and prophets were really about—as opposed to the rigid interpretation of the Pharisees and hypocrites. 
            What leaps up at most readers are the famous lines, “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.”
            Here many stop reading.  Jesus is a pacifist!  Jesus is promoting non-violence!  Well, sure.  But is Jesus telling us to never defend anyone?  Is he saying that, if you see a child being punched by an adult, we shouldn’t offer resistance?  Are there times we should defend ourself or others?  Now of course Jesus is against violence, war and the like.  And I don’t mean to open up a can of worms on a huge topic. 
            My main point this morning—keep reading!
            Jesus, after telling us to turn our cheek then says, “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.”
            I would suggest that Jesus, among other teachings, is preaching about detachment.  Note that he referred to the body (being hit), possessions (cloak and tunic) and time (going the extra mile).  He is showing us that we must not be overly attached to what God has given us—our body, things and time.
            As we meditate upon the Sermon on the Mount, may we grow in detachment and recognize the gifts we have been given are God’s—not ours.

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