Love in the Time of Corona

 

June 15, 2020 - Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

 

MT 5:38-42

 

Fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

“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." (Mt. 5:38-39)

 

One of our first instincts towards someone who hurts us is to hurt that person back, and if possible, to do it even more badly. We have many different reasons to retaliate. Maybe we want to protect ourselves, our dignity, our freedom, our lifestyle, our identity. Nevertheless, deep down, maybe we retaliate because we are in pain. Yes, pain, profound pain because what was done to us really hurt. In times of distress, violence and murder, it is crucial to ask ourselves, how do we deal with pain? How do we deal with our own pain? How do we deal with the pain of others? Are we able to embrace it reasonably, or do we just react to it, or do we dismiss it?

 

Jesus´ words quoted above and the following: “When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well" - remind us that when we are in pain, we need healing, and that healing does not happen by provoking more hurt. We do not overcome distress by creating more distress; we do not quench violence creating more violence; we do not bring back to life those who have been murdered by killing others. Healing distress requires acknowledging the human dignity of the other, healing violence requires recognizing the vulnerability and greatness of each person, healing murder requires justice.

 

When Jesus asks us "to offer no resistance to one who is evil," Jesus is not asking us to be indifferent in situations of distress, violence and murder, but to be creative in such a way that we overcome evil by doing good. Be creative so that we do not get trapped by the net of retaliation. Be creative not to end up in total destruction. Be creative and, following Jesus, heal and restore life.