Sun 19th February 2017
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
1 Cor. 3:16-23
Mt. 5:38-48 (Ps Wk III)
Today’s Gospel reading, from the Sermon on the Mount, divides neatly into two sections. The first section comments on the saying “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth”. The second section comments on the saying “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.”
When Jesus says “you have learnt” he is referring to the teaching or an interpretation of the Old Testament, the word of God. When he continues “But I say to you”, he is affirming that he has authority to amend the word of God in order to preach a higher morality.
We may feel that Jesus is being unrealistic, but if we go beyond his examples and probe more deeply we can deduce general principles. During his trial before the Sanhedrin, when a guard struck Jesus on the cheek, he did not in fact “turn the other cheek” but challenged the man, asserting he had done no wrong to merit being struck (Jn 18:22). We may sum up his teaching and protest in a general principle: “Rather be the victim of injustice than the perpetrator, but nevertheless challenge injustice when you see it”.
Similarly, the second section basically teaches the virtue of tolerance, as does Jesus’ parable of the weeds among the wheat.