Father Walter Schu, LC
Matthew 5: 38-42
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said, An eye
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
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. If anyone wants to go to law with you
over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go
with him for two miles. Give to the one
who asks of you, and do not turn your
back on one who wants to borrow."
Lord, you present a message that is not
easy for my fallen nature to accept. However, I believe
in your words, and I trust in you because
you alone have the words of eternal life. As I
begin this moment of prayer, I turn to you
as one in need. I want only to please you
in all I do.
Petition: Lord, help me
to embrace your call to turn the other cheek.
Leitmotif: Can we discover a unifying thread in this
week’s Gospel readings? One that stands out is the
radical newness of Christ’s Kingdom. It is new in
its fundamental principle: a charity that must extend to loving
one’s very enemies (Monday and Tuesday). It is new
in the intentions which must motivate all our actions
(Wednesday). It is new in the way we are to
pray to our Father in heaven (Thursday). And, finally,
it is new in the radical demands it places
upon us as followers of Christ: We must make this
Kingdom our only treasure (Friday) and seek it above
everything else in life (Saturday). What a privilege to be
called to the mission of helping to establish such
a Kingdom! What a joy, what an honor, what
a glory to be the subjects of such a King!
Do people encounter a “newness”, a freshness, in my
approach to life? Is it rooted in Christ’s new teaching?
A New Legislator: We find ourselves at the heart
of Christ’s discourse in his Sermon on the Mount. Our
Lord attributes to himself an authority that must have
startled and even shocked his Jewish listeners. He claims
the power to alter what has been proclaimed in the
very Law of Moses and the prophets — the
absolute source of authority for the Jewish faith. Remember
that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and God put
his word in the mouths of the prophets. So
when Jesus says, “You have heard it said…. But
I say to you...,” only two alternatives are possible: Either
Christ is a madman, or he is truly the
Son of God, the one who has come “not to
abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill
them.” I may agree that he is truly the Son
of God, but do I embrace all of his
3. Turning the Other Cheek: It would certainly be
hard to find words more radical than these. Who would
dare to speak them, if not the Son of
God himself? He would live them out fully in his
own life, allowing himself to be nailed to the
cross by evil men. But is it really possible
for us to live them as his followers, as Christians?
Do we really turn the other cheek when someone
strikes us? If people demand something of us unjustly,
do we give them even more than they ask? What
could be the purpose of these commands from Christ,
which seem to leave us vulnerable and defenseless? In
the end, it is only such heroic charity that will
be able to win over evil men to the
cause of the Gospel. And that is precisely what
Christ, our Savior, longs for. “God … desires all men
to be saved and to come to the knowledge
of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, I long to have a heart that is
more like yours. Warm my selfish heart so that
I will lovingly turn the other cheek as you
ask of me. Help me to grow in zeal for
all men to be saved and to come to
know you in their lives.
will do an act of kindness for someone with whom
it is difficult for me to get along.