Reflection on Scripture Seventh Sunday of Year Gospel A

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Jesus said to his disciples: "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.

·         Jesus forbids the misuse of Mosaic civil law to justify private vengeance.

·         For his followers, Jesus rejects any retaliation as a way of life.

·         Eventually, he will state that the proper response of a disciple is love not hate or revenge.

·         In each of these sayings, Jesus is setting a new standard for his disciples, one that will lead to union with God.

 When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. 

·         At the time Roman soldiers reserved the right to recruit and compel their Jewish subjects into temporary service. Simon of Cyrene, for instance, was forced under this right to carry Jesus’ cross.

·         Jesus instead stipulates generosity beyond any obligation, again out of love.

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

·         Again, give out of love, because God has been generous to us.

"You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?

·         To the Jews of his day, all non-Jews, that is Gentiles, were considered enemies because they did not worship the one, true God.

·         Jesus includes all as neighbor, even their Roman overlords.

·         In other words, As God invites the unjust to respond to him through the evidence of

his love, so the disciples of Jesus must be the bearers of the same love toward their enemies.

 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

·         We are to follow the lead of our Heavenly Father in his treatment of each person. He treats all with mercy.

·         We will never be perfect in this life but we can strive for perfection, following the directions of Jesus for his disciples.

·         This is a call to holiness. Be holy for the Lord is holy. There is no relationship with God unless one is striving to be holy, striving to love as God loves.

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