Today’s Thoughts: Given the negativity, anger, misinformation, violence of our world and the bad things that often seem to happen to good people living with a generous and willing heart is not always easy and sometimes is downright frustrating. At least it seems that way to me. I truly want to follow the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel (Matthew 5: 38-42), “Give to the one who asks of you and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow.” Yet, time and time again I struggle with the Gospel way that Jesus outlines today.
At times I want justice or maybe more so revenge, yes, I want an eye for an eye. I don’t like to get hit at all and I certainly don’t want to turn the other cheek. I am happy at times to go the extra mile but not always. You can have my jacket or coat as long as it is an old one and I have another. And it seems at times there are people on every street corner and subway stop if I give to everyone I will be broke within a day!
Yes, often I fail when it comes to Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel and that bothers me! How can I be a person of faith, how can I be a Christian, a Catholic and fall so short? Jesus’ words are haunting words today and I have no answers. Sure, I have often rationalized – I can’t give to everyone; the money will surely be used for drugs or drink; they got what they deserved; somebody has to teach them a lesson; it’s too cold; I don’t have time; somebody else will help them; and on and on!
But Jesus doesn’t give conditions or excuses he just says offer no resistance, turn the other cheek, give your coat, go the extra mile and don’t turn your back! So, I am still faced with my imperfection, I am still face with how to act and live. I have no intelligent answer, no sage wisdom of many years. All I can say is that it is perhaps good to pause and listen to or read Jesus’ words in Matthew’s Gospel today knowing that we are not perfect but also reminding ourselves that there is still much to learn, much to do. Perhaps, Jesus’ words make sure that we see the world around us and that we don’t close our eyes to it!
Have a great Monday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"