The WORD in Other Words by Fr Bubi Scholz SVD (Holland)
Monday Week 11 OT, 2 Cor 6:1-10, Mt 5:38-42
When people are offended, hurt or treated unjustly, they tend to hit back. Violence breeds violence. When the Old Testament said “an eye for an eve,” it tried to limit violence: The revenge should not be greater than the harm received. But Jesus in today‘s Gospel goes further. He does not only want to limit violence; he wants to eliminate it altogether.
Violence is widespread and causes so much misery. Domestic violence, when parents maltreat their children instead of giving tender love. Verbal violence, that is angry and hateful words hurled at neighbors and officemates. Violence, including murder, against any competitor, as blocking my plans in business and politics.. The terrible violence of terrorism which senselessly kills or maims the innocent. Leaders of nations planning so—called pre—emptive strikes, meaning hitting the enemy before he could attack.
Jesus knows how deeply violence is rooted in the hearts of people and how much unhappiness it produces. He wants to uproot it. Only thus can we escape from the vicious circle of violence. Jesus uses words that may seem exaggerated: “Do not offer resistance, give to the one who asks you, love even your enemies.” His words want to shake us so that we will say a firm No to violence. How admirable are the great figures of reconciliation like Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi and others who followed Jesus teaching, rejecting violence and thus creating peace.
In the Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation, we thank God with these words: “In the midst of conflict and division, we know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace. Your Spirit is at work when understanding puts an end to strife, when hatred is quenched by mercy, and vengeance gives way to forgiveness.”