“If any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well!” (Matthew 5:39-40)
The strongest instinct in any living creature is survival. How then do we obey the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage? How do we restrain ourselves from resisting one who is evil? How do we turn the other cheek? How do we let our enemies take our cloak even after taking our coat?
I think rather than ask ‘how’, we should be asking ‘why.’ If we all go by the principle of an eye for an eye, very soon we would all go blind. As much as we need to learn to let go and forgive, we should not forget that being imperfect creatures, we also stand in need of the forgiveness and mercy of others.
In our first reading today, we see how Jezebel connived to put Naboth to death simply for refusing to sell his land to King Ahab. It wasn’t the case that Ahab was a poor man, he was the king, he was the richest man in the whole nation of Israel but due to his insatiable greed, he couldn’t take his eyes off the property of poor Naboth. Greed is a very serious disease.
The cure for greed is charity. Learn to give things away so as not be worship these material things. Remind yourself that you brought nothing to this world and you shall go back with nothing. Be content with what you have and if you think your life will not be complete for not having this property or that, submit the matter to God. Ask, seek, knock. (Cf. Matthew 7:7)
Let us pray: Lord God, give me the grace to live above my natural instincts, to forgive, to let go, and to be generous through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Kings 21:1-16, Ps. 5:2-3,5-7, Matthew 5:38-42)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu