In a world that’s often focused on vendettas, avenging wrongs, trampled rights, and payback, Our Lord reminds us today of what has been a trademark of Christianity throughout the centuries: turning the other cheek. Meekness is often considered weakness, but it actually involves a very virtuous effort to not strike, or even dislike, the one who’s struck you, to give your time and possessions when someone doesn’t have a right to them, or to go out of your way beyond what any reasonable person would expect.
Our Lord has set the standard. How many blows did he receive? Being God, he didn’t have to become flesh and sacrifice himself for our salvation. When Adam and Eve sinnedGod could have left us to the mess they’d made of our lives, just as he could every time we sin and continue to sin. With all that baggage anything we ask, or sometimes demand, of Our Lord is something he is under no obligation whatsoever to to fulfill. And yet he does and continues to do so.
We often focus on the receiving end of the slights and offenses that he describes in today’s Gospel, but what he also teaches, through example, is how we should not be on the giving end of them either. Even today we have an eloquent testimony in so many Christians suffering persecution and death. Let’s ask Our Lord today for the meekness and humility of heart that enables us to turn the other cheek and to go out of our way for others.
Readings: 2 Corinthians 6:1–10; Psalm 98:1, 2b–4; Matthew 5:38–42.