First reading 2 Corinthians 6:1-10

How we prove that we are God’s servants

As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.
  We do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our function as God’s servants. Instead, we prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering: in times of hardship and distress; when we are flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving. We prove we are God’s servants by our purity, knowledge, patience and kindness; by a spirit of holiness, by a love free from affectation; by the word of truth and by the power of God; by being armed with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, prepared for honour or disgrace, for blame or praise; taken for impostors while we are genuine; obscure yet famous; said to be dying and here are we alive; rumoured to be executed before we are sentenced; thought most miserable and yet we are always rejoicing; taken for paupers though we make others rich, for people having nothing though we have everything.
 

Responsorial Psalm 97(98):1-4

The Lord has made known his salvation.
 
Sing a new song to the Lord
  for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
  have brought salvation.
 
The Lord has made known his salvation;
  has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
  for the house of Israel.
 
All the ends of the earth have seen
  the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
  ring out your joy.
 

Gospel Matthew 5:38-42

Offer the wicked man no resistance

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’
 
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To walk God’s illogical way

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. This is the expected thing to do for many of us. We will naturally respond to violence with violence, insult with insult. Nevertheless, in today’s gospel, Jesus went beyond what was expected and taught His listeners to resist retaliation. Jesus was neither against systematic justice nor endorsing sins. He was against people having hearts full of anger and hatred, seeking personal revenge and retribution for wrongs done. Instead, He desired His disciples to choose forgiveness and love over vengeance.
 
 
This teaching is not easy to put into practice, especially when people are caught up in a cycle of abuse and hatred. Though it seems illogical, the path of love and forgiveness is the one we are called to take and always work for peace and reconciliation. Today, let us fill our hearts with God’s love so that we can apply love, not hatred.
 
Reflective question:
How am I to respond to people who have done me wrong?
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year A” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.