June 14, 2021
by Scott McClure
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 365

2 Corinthians 6:1-10
Psalm 98:1, 2b, 3ab, 3cd-4
Matthew 5:38-42

Praying Ordinary Time

Prayers for Fathers and Husbands

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Rediscovering Corporal Works of Mercy

Today, Jesus in Matthew's gospel presents us with a difficult charge: to shed our instinctual conception of a justice that is retaliatory and, instead, to turn the other cheek; to hand over our possessions; to go further. This is a tough pill to swallow. In praying with this, I was drawn to consider today's gospel in light of Jesus' last recorded words to his disciples recorded in Matthew. Among them is this other charge: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Can we consider today's charge in light of Jesus' subsequent and final charge to his disciples to, themselves, make more disciples? After all, I like to think Jesus always was intentional with his choice of words and even especially so in choosing his final words. 

The question, then, seems to be: how can turning the other cheek help us make disciples? The effect Jesus and his teachings had and have continued to have on others over the ages has been to make us see beyond what the world values. While the world values people for their displays of power and possessions, Jesus contended that our true value is rooted in our being beloved and created children of God. When Jesus' followers absorb the truth of this reality, their appetites and actions change in a way that baffles the world. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians today, ...as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things. What seems incompatible in fact gives witness to the truth of what Jesus offers us. More than any word or argument, it is this witness that will show others what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and invite them into this way, this truth, and this life. By turning the other cheek, then, we are indeed making disciples. 

It is hard to live in a world with such seeming incompatibilities. It creates tension. If we can open our eyes in our daily lives, however, to acknowledge these tensions, God will give us the grace to live with them and yet live in the truth he has shown us in Jesus. This will be our witness to the world and we will make disciples. 

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