Reflection for Feb. 24, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Staying Gospel-busy

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Taken seriously, Jesus' instruction could lead to a lifetime of work -- and for the highest cause

Do to others as you would have them do to you. -- Luke 6:31

by Sister Mary Kabat

We have heard this challenging message of Jesus from the time we were children.  Our parents tried to get us to “feel” the pain we had just inflicted on our sibling.  They tried to have us think about how we would feel if that same action was done to us.  Is it any easier now?

In our everyday lives we can be quick to react when we feel harmed in any way, quick to give back double the pain, insult or opinion we don’t share.  Reading this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 6:27-38) is an examination of conscience:

  • Love those you consider “enemies”
  • Do good to all who dislike you
  • Pray for all who mistreated you
  • If someone hits you, let them hit you again without striking back
  • If someone takes your coat, give them your sweater too
  • Lend without expecting anything in return
  • Don’t judge people
  • Forgive and give in abundance

This Gospel passage will keep us busy for the rest of our lives!  Living that way, as Jesus surely did, will transform every relationship we have.  The ripples of such living will spill over to other people’s lives and may influence their living as well.  Who know where it will go and what good it will bring to our world.  Are you ready?  Go!


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Comments:

CommentBubbleVery good reflection, Sr Mary. -- Millie

CommentBubbleA number of years ago I attended a weekend conference on Forgiveness at UW-Madison. It was the first ever, offered from what has now become the International Forgiveness Institute. https://internationalforgiveness.com/. The purpose of the weekend was to teach us that forgiveness does not mean looking the other way from a violation, offense, or abuse. It means acknowledging the offense and holding the offender accountable, without revenge. Forgiveness means "freedom from victimhood."

The lessons of that weekend were insightful and empowering, offering new understanding to the commonly misinterpreted, "turn the other cheek" phrase. "Turn the other cheek" does not mean to take abuse. It means making a conscious and deliberate choice to offer the aggressor a single moment of conscientious thought: do I strike again, or end my violent rampage now?

For, when one turns his face to offer the other cheek, the aggressor is forced to make a physical change. He must either: 1) use the other hand to strike, or 2) backhand. In that one moment, an aggressor is given the opportunity to come face-to-face with himself and his rage. He must then choose to continue his violent rage, or walk away.

Jesus was teaching his followers how to respond to violence in a non-violent and life-changing way. Jesus' methods included offering conversion and repentance to the offender. Something very radically different from the social and religious norms of the day, which justified returning - and even escalating violence for violence. -- Linda

CommentBubbleThanks for the thoughtful reflection. -- Sister Kay