February 27, 2021
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University's University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 229

Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 5:43-48

Praying Ordinary Time

Praying Lent Resources

First Four Days of Lent - 23 min. - Text Transcript

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Cooking Lent
Recipes for Ash Wednesday,
all the Fridays of Lent and for Good Friday

For many years, my father was the mayor of the town in which I grew up. It was the county seat, and it had a population of around 8,000. It was a Goldilocks town. Not too big, not too small, just right. Most everyone knew each other or at least someone in their family. As mayor, my father’s decisions did not always sit well with everyone, and on several occasions, a pointed letter to the editor attacking my dad’s ability to lead, or worse, would appear in the local paper.

One day my dad and I were coming out of a downtown cafĂ©, and who should be coming in as we were leaving, but the author of a rather scathing letter to the editor. He saw my dad and started to turn away. My dad called out to him, “Bill, thanks for taking the time to express your opinion. All the best.” And with that we were on our way. In the car I asked my dad why he even took the time to talk to that low-down, snake-in-the-grass, and my dad said, “Steven, kill them with kindness. They will never know what hit ‘em.” And he was right.

Now my dad was not a student of Shakespeare, nor his play, The Taming of the Shrew, in which the phrase is thought to have originated, but he was a faith-filled man, and this may have been his way of putting into action Jesus’ words found in today’s Gospel.

In a small town, it was not uncommon to come face-to-face with those you disagreed with, but the world has gotten a lot bigger. Today, with social media and the ability to anonymously attack and denigrate anyone at will, and with cable news networks honed to specifically attack those on the other side of aisle, who needs to be kind? Who needs to try and understand the other side? It seems as if “kill them with kindness” has morphed into “kill them with hatred.” Some fear we may have reached the point of no return to civility, of our willingness to love each other, even if the other does not vote for the same party we do, or belong to the same race.
How do we respond in a hate-filled world, in a way that Jesus would approve of? Do we just disengage from the world, cancel our subscription to “biased” newspaper and magazines, stop watching anything on TV except cooking shows, or trade in our smart phones for an old-fashioned flip phone?

I don’t think Jesus would approve of any of these actions, for his Gospel was not about retreating into the shadows, but rather living our faith and demonstrating daily our love and respect for all. Especially those with whom we disagree.

Today’s Gospel ends with what some might call an impossible challenge: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We know we can only strive for perfection, but in so doing, we all can show a little, no, make that a lot, more kindness to those with whom we might not always agree. And, who knows, maybe they will return the favor.

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