Reflection by Meggie K. Daly
Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48 – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus shares two radical teachings that stunned listeners in His time and, if we are honest, have a similar effect on us today. First, Jesus says: “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your]right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” Is Jesus calling us to be wimps, to let bad people walk all over us?
Jesus continues: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Is Jesus raising the bar impossibly high? Are we to let bad people abuse us and then pray for them?
In my experience, when someone hurts or rejects me, my knee-jerk reaction is to strike back by sulking or “talking stink” about them. According to Jesus, these choices are all bad choices. A second choice, just as unhealthy, is to do nothing and let the hurt fester to bitterness within us. A third option is to stay calm, remove oneself from, and pray for those who have hurt us — this is the path Jesus calls us to take.
Years back, my husband and I moved across the county to be near his parents. A simple but common snub was to extend dinner invitations to my husband only when I was out of town. I was hurt and disappointed by being methodically excluded.
One night my husband suggested, “Why don’t you start praying for my parents. It will soften your heart towards them, even amidst their rejection.” I begrudgingly followed his advice. Eventually, I realized that my heart had grown more resilient and that slights from my in-laws no longer triggered resentment in me. I was able to accept them as imperfect — just like me!
What resentment from a past hurt can I transform to forgiveness through prayer for the one who hurt me?
Give me strength, Lord, to refocus feelings of rejection to sincere prayers for those who have hurt me. Tenderize my heart to help me to recognize that “hurt people – hurt others.”
Copyright 2020 Meggie K. Daly
Meggie K. Daly, a retired research scientist, is the author of Bead by Bead: The Scriptural Rosary. She is the mother of six adult children and six grandchildren. Meggie occasionally blogs at meggieKdaly.blogspot.com and is working on her second book in between providing daycare for her young grandchildren.
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