Monday, June 15, 2015

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

Believe me and you will forget the offences and insults you get from your fellow man. You will see how differently you will be named; he will be called angry and violent while you will be cited as meek and peaceful. One day, he will repent of his violence, but you will never regret your meekness». – St Basil (329 – 379: Influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian church)

Gospel Text: (MT 5:38-42)
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, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

Today Jesus teaches us that forgiveness can overcome hate.

Truth should always accompany forgiveness. We do not just forgive because we feel helpless or gravely embarrassed. Quite often the expression “to turn the other cheek” is misinterpreted as waiving our legitimate rights, certainly nothing of the sort. To turn the other cheek means to denounce with a peaceful but categorical gesture. Whoever has committed the injustice; it is like saying to them: «You slapped me on the cheek, now what, you want to slap me on the other too? Do you really think you are behaving rightly?». Jesus replied serenely to the high priest's rude servant: «If I said something wrong testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?» (Jn 18:23).

Rather than ‘an eye for an eye,’ we need to take the high road and forgive. Instead of wanting to pay back those who hurt us, we should forgive and move forward. Jesus Christ emphasizes in today’s Gospel that only love can overcome violence and this is how He expressed it when, on his Cross, He interceded for his executioners: «Father, forgive them, they know not what they do» (Lk 23:34).

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