In our Gospel readings recently for daily Mass, we’ve been reading through the beginning of Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount. And what we have seen, especially yesterday and today, is Jesus basically setting the record straight on the Law. In fact, in many ways, He is recasting the Law and presenting to His disciples and those who have come to hear Him the proper understanding of the Law.
Yesterday, Jesus called out the thinking of the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” approach to justice. Instead, He called others to “offer no resistance to those who do evil.” He tells us to turn the other cheek when someone hurts us in some way.
Today, Jesus sets the record straight again, calling out a particular belief that so many of the Jews have held for centuries…He calls out the idea that we should love our neighbor but hate our enemies. Instead, we are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who constantly seek to harm us in some way. We’ll actually see Jesus put this into practice on the Cross, where He will show us what that actually looks like. Remember, Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him because they didn’t realize what they were doing.
What Jesus is giving to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount is something that He wants to give us as well. He is bringing us to a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian disciple, what it means to truly live as a son or daughter of God. Just as He did to the people of His time, Jesus wants to come into our lives and shake up our preconceived notions about who He is, about what love looks like, about how we are called to live our lives. The emphasis is on mercy, it’s on compassion, it’s on relationship.
Today, let’s ask the Lord to send out the Holy Spirit upon us so that we can be brought to a better understanding of how He is calling us to live as Christian disciples. Let’s ask Him for the grace to be aware of the times that we have fallen into a desire for revenge or for the times that we have failed to love as He loved…especially in terms of those who have hurt us. We can only truly live as His disciples if He gives us the grace that we need to recognize our mistakes and the courage to turn to Him for help. Today, may we open our hearts to His teaching and receive it with humility. May we ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of conversion, so that we can go out and truly be disciples of Jesus.