Monday, June 17, 2013

Times Have Not Changed

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

"Lex Talionis" was legal formula of the days of Moses.  We know it today as an eye for an eye.  Is this gospel and in particular during many moments during his passion, Jesus refuted this legalism.  When a guard spat in his face, what did Jesus do?  He sat in continued silence.  Today in similar situations, if a person does not "retaliate" (talionis), he is considered a wimp.

St. Paul experienced the same in so many ways.  Some who did not like him and his preaching successes, said many offensive things about him to the people of Corinth.

Several years ago I witnessed a man of some status confront his assistant in anger.  Upset with something the assistant had prepared for him, he tore up page the assistant had offered for reading, and tossed it at the assistant's face.  The assistant stood there in silence, picked up the shreds of paper, and said nothing.  Those who did speak were other witnesses who spoke words of admiration for his patience.  One man became a star.  Another become recognized fool.

Today there are many instances when tempers can easily flair.  Today there are times when jealousy can create another fool.  We are challenged often.