Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 6:1-10, Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, & Matthew 5:38-42
"Sing joyfully to the Lord; all you lands; break into song; sing praise." The final words of Psalm 98 are beautiful yet bode the question, "In what ways do we sing a NEW song?" That question seems to be an excellent way for us to reflect on today's first reading and Matthew's Gospel.
In his second letter to his "fellow workers" in Corinth, the words of Paul imply that the "Good News of Jesus" has already been embraced by them. As a result, he does not hesitate to invite them into the contradictions of what was to come. That is, arriving at eternal life by living fully in the present; proceeding unarmed and still possessing the power of God; finding glory and honor by accepting insult and dishonor; telling a truth that seems too good to be true and being chastised for it; entering into the death of Jesus to find a more abundant life; mourning and weeping in this valley of tears and being filled with joy forever. At this point, we must each ask ourselves, "How am I doing with this 'New Way'?'"
Matthew's Gospel is that portion of the "Sermon on the Mount" that many find challenging. Resistance and retaliation are the typical ways we deal with hostility, opposition, and other forms of evil. Yet, the words of Jesus recommending and inviting us not to resist are clear. The New Way is the way of non-violent love. Once again, as we have done many times before, we give special attention and careful consideration to the call of Jesus, and we beg for a generous and courageous response.
What then is the "bottom line?" The final sentence of the Gospel orders a course of action all of us can follow; "Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow." That is the least we can do, and it usually is enough. Let us begin again this day with this one small but fruitful command and thereby enter more fully and "sing joyfully to the Lord."
Question of the Day: How will you prepare for the contradictions that face Christians in the current world in which we live?
Prayer: "There is one thing I ask of the Lord, only this do I seek: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Psalm 27.