Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5, 38-42 – St. Anthony of Padua
Jesus has been spending His time reviewing Jewish teaching with his followers, explaining the deeper and newly applicable roots that God always intended to share. Now that the Son of Man is here, we are held to a higher standard. Originally, “an eye for an eye” was instated to prevent an angry reaction to wrongdoing from exceeding original evil. It was a measuring stick for temperance of revenge, and now Jesus is asking even more. He tells us to be so temperate that we release all anger and, in fact, peacefully give to the wrongdoer our other cheek to strike.
As I write this, my search for peace to “offer no resistance to one who is evil” is internal. The “wrongdoing,” selfishly, is joyful occasion: so many of my close friends have been blessed with pregnancies and new births. Praise God, my initial reaction is joy for their good fortune and prayers for their unborn. However, the evil one, who first inspired those who wanted to take more than one tooth for one tooth, whispers in my ear to pity myself, to focus more stressfully on self-righteousness in my occupation, and to find conflict with these women who are blessed with fertility when I seem not to be. Jesus’ words remind and offer me the opportunity to give my other cheek and to celebrate life selflessly.
St. Anthony received his infamous utility as a finder of lost items because he successfully prayed for a precious and stolen prayer book to be returned to him. The thief returned the book and returned his life to the hermitage from which he fled, giving St. Anthony pleasure that the thief accepted God’s forgiveness. Today I ask St. Anthony to pray for me that I accept God’s forgiveness for turning my ear to the devil rather than handing over my cloak. St. Anthony, help all those who have lost their footing in seeking joy over internal vengeance.
In what ways can we offer a safe place for others to return to accept God’s forgiveness, rather than take an eye for an eye?
St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us that we find the peace to love our neighbors and our enemies over seeking vengeance and over matching ill actions with revenge.
Copyright 2016 Elizabeth O’Meara
Elizabeth O’Meara is a Virginia woman joyfully married to her best friend. Being an elementary teacher of English Speakers of Other Languages gives allows her to minister to His little ones and their families. It also gives the delight in saying, “I LOVE my job!” with honesty. She blogs sparingly at www.elizabethhillgrove.com about life as a Catholic woman in America.