June 16, 2008
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 21:1-16
We are in the midst of some troubling words from Jesus. We are a people who are concerned with the individual and that is namely self. Our society is geared to defending the rights of the individual and anything that infringes on individual liberty is an affront. Jesus' words are quite often a necessary affront to our sense of right and wrong.
We are painfully use to the word enemy in our world today. I was watching one of the 24 hour news networks and I was struck by something I had never really noticed before. There was a series of sound bites from the political big shots and it seemed that these men and women were constantly pointing out enemies. Really? If I were to believe these people then I should be afraid to step outside of the rectory because there are enemies lurking around every shrub! Let's face it, fear grabs our collective attention.
That set me to thinking. I am very well aware that there are people in the world who seek to create chaos and pain and do not value life in any way shape or form. But is it necessary to label everyone who does not agree with me an enemy? As I have been reflecting on that news broadcast it looks as if we as a people are quick to call anyone we do not like, the enemy. I believe that is very dangerous.
In our Gospel text today, Jesus is talking about revolution and it is a revolution that makes all others seem like child's play. Jesus proclaims revolution that is devoid of violence, hatred, or fear. Jesus turns the idea of revenge upside down. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is sin and Jesus reveals that it has no place in his kingdom. In fact, Jesus declares that we are to actually love those who we deem our enemy! Surely Jesus was joking! Thankfully, NO!
Jesus' words of revolution are declarations of love and sacrifice instead of hatred and selfishness. Violence begets violence and is an abomination to Jesus. We are use to revolutions that result in death and destruction. Jesus says that cannot be the way. Jesus' revolution is the radical and limitless, eternal and unconditional love of the Father.
We can walk around blind and toothless, holding on to our fear and hatred or we can use our eyes to see God in each other and use our teeth to partake in the feast that God prepares for us.