2 Corinthians 6:1-10
Brothers and sisters:
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
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, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
At one glance, the gospel message sounds fairly unpalatable. Isn’t God a God of justice? Why not resist an aggressor? And what do we do about beggars? We are warned that it is not good to offer our spare change to people on the street.
Jesus seems to want us to see things differently. Once we are saved, our goals change and we care about all those who are not yet saved. The evil-doer is our business, not because he can hurt us in this life, but because he can lose his soul in hell unless someone shares the gospel message with him. Someone has to be Jesus to him.
After celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi, the body and blood of Jesus, we have heard that by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, we become one with him, not only in flesh but in his divinity and in his soul. We think of Jesus who did not retaliate against his enemies. He did share the truth with them and He gave of himself to everyone who asked.
We may never suffer such an overt slap in our faces or be confronted by a beggar, but in many ways, we are asked to give of ourselves and to suffer offenses. If we demand our own sense of justice, we may find some measure of satisfaction, but after that, we can expect no more. Jesus is making a place for us to continue in relationship with difficult people and even people who would attack us physically. It may be their only chance to encounter Him and it could lead them to new life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, in your kindness, help me to remove a little more of myself, my human pride and self-love from my relationships so I may be able to walk like Jesus walked. May I always strive to draw souls to you and recognize that each person who sins against me is a person in need of healing and in need of you. May I be wise enough to distrust the one who hurts me, yet, may my mind and heart stay separate from any desire for vengeance for the ultimate goal of salvation. Amen.