Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:38-42
All of us have experienced the pain of being wronged. Some of you may have even experienced the pain of being wronged in a terrible way – neglect, abuse, betrayal, or being the victim of a crime.
Maybe you are struggling with forgiveness right now. All of you can probably relate to the terrible pain that comes from being wronged in some way, and have experienced the desire to make the person who wronged you suffer in some way. “If only,” we think, “they could experience the pain they have caused me!”
On the other hand, we have the challenge that Jesus gives us in today’s Gospel, “Turn the other cheek.” How often do we hear this invoked as a call to passivity?
Yet, what Jesus suggests in the Gospel today is not a passive response. It is a remarkably powerful one.
For each act of violence, Jesus offers a concrete response. The response that would come naturally (such as slapping back instead of turning the other cheek) feels powerful. It is, in fact, the more passive response. It is giving in to our primal instincts. What Jesus offers is, however, the truly powerful response. He challenges us to conquer our fallen instincts and direct our actions in a way that is heroically loving.
In my own life, I have experienced being painfully, terribly wronged. For a long time, I tried to forgive the person who wronged me. It wasn’t until I chose to actively do something for that person (offering a specific prayer for this person every day), that I was able to begin forgiving.
God, in his wisdom, knows that we need to do something to work toward forgiveness. Rather than being passive, Jesus calls us to actively choose forgiveness.
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Who are you struggling to forgive right now? What concrete thing can you do to begin to work towards forgiveness?
Jesus, please give me the grace to choose forgiveness, today and every day. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Michele Chronister
Michele E. Chronister is a wife, mother, speaker, writer, and catechist. She also serves on the Council for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the National Catholic Partnership on Disability. She blogs over at www.mydomesticmonastery.com and shares more about adaptive ministry for those with disabilities at www.takingthelifttoheaven.com.