Reflection on the Daily Readings for 6/15/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Mon. of third week. II Cor.6:1-10. Psalm 98:1.2-3.3-4. Matthew
5:38-42. Lectionary # 365:
Paul describes his sufferings and those who work with him in the missionary
task of bringing the salvation message of Jesus to the Gentiles. In reading
his letters and epistles one finds a list of virtues that he practices and
encourages us to practice. The Scriptures are thus meant for our needs as
well as for those with whom Paul lived and worked with. They are perennial.
These virtues may help us to understand Jesus today when he tells us if
someone hits us on the cheek, turn the other to the one who is
aggressive.We are not to retaliate when we suffer a wrong from someone!
Turning the other cheek is not one of our normal ways of behaving when
someone hits us. There is a modern Jewish interpretation of this. The
Jewish woman who shared this said the turning of the other cheek gives the
aggressor another chance to think about what he or she has done and maybe
to apologize. That still takes courage and virtue to do on our part.
What virtues does Paul offer us for helping us through such forms of
suffering and others. Here are some that are contained in our first reading
from II Corinthians:
1. Avoid giving offense to anyone by living a righteous life
2. Patient endurance of our own specific trials and sufferings
3. Witnessing innocence in our own lives
4. Allowing the knowledge and patience of the Holy Spirit to permeate
our heart and mind.
5. Living out our faith in a wholesome way (righteousness)
Armed with such spiritual weapons we are united to Jesus and can offer
ourselves as he did to the glory of God. Paul has told us to be ambassadors
of reconciliation and we know how much we need this today in all
governmental leaders and nations. It is as urgent now as it was in Paul’s
day:”Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!” The Psalm
completes the message with its hopeful tone: “All the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you
lands; break into song; sing praise. Amen.