You Have Heard It Said...But I Say....

I Kings 21:17-29.
Matthew 5:43-48.

The Eleventh Tuesday in Ordinary Time.

Readings from Cycle II of the feria, according to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite

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6:47 PM 6/17/2014 — Our Lord, in today's Gospel lesson, continues his all too familiar declaration wherein he replaces the moral dictum of the Old Testament, which was “an eye for an eye,” and replaces it with his own unyielding precept, usually precipitated with the formula: “You have heard it said...but I say....” In this particular case it's the one about how we should react to our enemies. But, included in his precept about loving ones enemies is the all too forgotten statement that God “makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).
     We often allow this particular phrase to pass us by because it just doesn't sound right to us. It offends our sense of justice. Those who do good should be rewarded, and those who do evil should be punished; that's how we've been raised to think. Our Lord is not challenging that; he's simply pointing out that reward and punishment do not come in this life; they come in the next. That's hard to wrap our brains around because, despite our Catholic upbringing, we live in a Protestant society, where faithfulness to God is rewarded here on earth. That's why all the Evangelical preachers you see on television are dressed to the nines: they need to show how prosperous they are to prove that they are blessed by God.
     We don't do that because we listen to the whole of our Lord's teachings, whether its about his real Body and Blood in the Eucharist, or, as in this case, the fact that reward and punishment do not come in this life, but in the next.
     Let us pray that, in our daily combat to live the Gospel every day, we will be given the grace to keep our eyes fixed on heaven as our true reward.