MONDAY, ELEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
2 Cor 6:1-10; Ps 98:1-4; Mt 5:38-42
WHEN GOOD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
‘Who is my neighbor?’ was a well-discussed question in the schools of the Rabbis. Love was restricted to a narrow circle, and the rest of the wide world was left out in the cold. Not only was the circumference of love’s circle drawn in, but to hate an enemy was elevated almost into a duty. Why should we always reciprocate to the reactive ways of the other? Two thunderclouds may cast lightning at each other, but they waste themselves in the process. Better to shine meekly and victoriously on as the moon does on piled masses of darkness till it slivers them with its quiet light.
So Jesus bids us do. We are to suppress the natural inclination to pay back in the enemy’s coin. We cannot hate a man if we pray for him; we cannot pray for him if we hate him. It is a blessed possibility that Jesus opens for us. Think of what any community, great or small, would be if enmity were met by love only and always. Its fire of hate would die for want of fuel. If the hater found no answering hate increasing his hate, he would often come to answer love with love. St John of the Cross says: “Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.”
A candle is put upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all in the house. Love too, must leave nothing out. A man who does not take revenge on his enemy, or one who loves only his friends may be considered good. Yet, the vocation of a disciple of Christ in not just to be good. Just being good is not good enough. The call to be a disciple is a challenge and an adventure. It is not just enough to be good, for that is the norm for every human being. A disciple has to stand out as Jesus has already indicated. “You are the light of the world… no one lights a lamp and puts it under the bushel.., rather on the lampstand…” To be a disciple means to do something more than what others normally do; to love more perfectly, more divinely as others normally do.
Response: The Lord has made known his salvation.
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