Break the Cycle
06/13/2022 Gospel Reflection
Jesus said to His disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 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. 40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
There are many different interpretations of this passage in today’s gospel reading. In preparation for today’s reflection, I examined a commentary on the text. The commentary examines that the issue which Jesus is addressing deals with the principle of equal reciprocity when it deals with matters of justice. Barbara Reid explains, “Verse 39a is best translated “do not retaliate against the evildoer.”
It's important to apply these lessons to practical situations of our everyday encounters. For example, I recently made a comment to another member of the faithful in the hope of developing a conversation that focused on the person of Christ and His humility, ironically. The person responded combatively; they only wanted their previously stated point to be validated by me. They expressed an opinion for others to hear but didn’t want to have a conversation—the only thing they wanted was to be right. I realized this to be the case and didn’t comment any further.
Of course, this happens in situations at work, school, and at home. What Jesus is calling His disciples to do is simply to break the cycle of violence by not retaliating against the person who wants to create conflict. In my situation, I simply listened to their response and didn’t offer any comment back to them. Wisdom told me that any further comment would only escalate the situation.
Let us prayerfully listen to the words of Jesus and pour out the Spirit in our actions by striving to live a life of holiness and healing the wounds of division. Amen.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Mt 5:38–42.
 Barbara E. Reid, “The Gospel according to Matthew,” in New Testament, ed. Daniel Durken, The New Collegeville Bible Commentary (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009), 26.