7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus’ commands seem unrealistic and even unnatural. Do good to those who hurt us. Don’t ask for our property back from those who rob us. Turn the other cheek. Don’t judge, don’t condemn. Is Jesus telling us that if someone hurts someone in our family, is robbing and damaging our family, then we shouldn’t judge, just turn the other cheek and forgive?
I would say no he isn’t- we have an obligation to protect others, especially those committed to our care, we have an obligation to protect the right to private property and we have an obligation to see that justice is done, that people repair the damage their crimes cause and pay the appropriate price.
Jesus is telling us what must underpin what must prompt our protection of others our defence of property, our promotion of justice.
We exist, we are saved, we have the possibility of eternal life because God loves us. This is revealed fully to us in Jesus. He is God’s gift to us. He is the perfect sacrifice offered on the cross, the sacrifice of love offered for each of us, offered totally irrespective of our merits. We don’t deserve God’s love, we have nothing except what he has given us out of love. That’s true for every other human being. No matter how good or how bad they are. They exist because God loves them and offers himself for them.
There is so much injustice, hatred and evil in the world and the only way to confront it is God’s way, with more love, more goodness, more forgiveness knowing that the more comes from God.
Love of one's enemy is the heart of our way, a way not based on economic, or media power not even on good democratic government but on love, a love that does not rely on human resources but is a gift of God and is recognised by knowing Jesus. This alone, the love of God, is what can bring justice, freedom and life.
If a member of my family does something bad, yes we take steps to make them stop, to see if they can repair the damage, we welcome a punishment that will teach them they have done wrong, deter them from doing it again, be a way of repaying their debt, but none of that is done out of hate or revenge. It is done out of love and the hope that they might be part of the family again, forgiven, renewed, loved. Sometimes something might be so bad that we think it’s unforgivable- and sometimes people refuse to be forgiven, both leave a mark a blemish on a family, a mysterious sadness which can only be placed in God’s hands. But at its heart, what causes the sadness and upset, is family love challenged and it is family love that is the reason and the motivation to repair the damage.
In all our different situations and challenges, Jesus is saying that only Divine love, the family love at the heart of the Church, the love he gives to us as a gift, can fully explain how upset we are by evil and at the same time is our only sure weapon to defeat evil and let good triumph because he fights with us.