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Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

June 16, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

1 Kings 21:1-16
Psalm 5:2, 4, 6-7 5:2-3ab, 4b-6a, 6b-7
Matthew 5:38-42

A reflection on today's Scripture:

But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. (Matthew 5:39)

We may think that Naboth's refusal to sell his land to the king conflicts with Christ's gospel teaching, but in truth, Israel's law prohibited the sale of ancestral land. God said it is His land which He assigned to tenants of His choice and not subject to change. Recall that Jesus said He came to fulfill, not abolish, God's law; He only challenged those man-made laws inconsistent with God's basic law of love. Naboth chose to die rather than place the evil king's command above God's law.

The Old Testament teaching "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" did not mean that those who have been wronged should seek revenge. Actually it meant that any retribution should not be excessive, but let the punishment fit the crime. Jesus did not abolish retribution for crimes that endangered the public's good. His focus was on forgiveness, and we see this in His examples dealing with interpersonal relationships over issues that were either indignities or selfish demands. Jesus' purpose was to prevent an escalation of ill-will between people that could develop into an ongoing feud.

Fools will say that those obeying Christ's law of forgiveness are idiots, whereas the wise will admire their loving restraint. Though forgiving and forgetting may open people to further attacks, surely vengeance will do the same thing. If for the sake of love and peace, we forgive our fellow humans, we open the possibility to our would-be aggressors of seeing and adopting our better way of living.

O gracious Lord, heal us from any tendency to harbor anger or grudges against those who have hurt us. May Your loving forgiveness permeate our hearts. Amen.

- Marie Bocko, OCDS |
email: mlbocko (at) twcny (dot) rr (dot) com

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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