Mt 5:38-42 Dealing With Evil
(Click here for readings)
“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.”
I know what you are thinking. Who can live like this, especially in today’s sin-swelled society? But I say to you, what good is the gift of the Holy Spirit if it is not set free in time of hardship and trial? How else can it manifest its supreme power? Will I stifle it by taking short cuts and not allowing the miracles to take place?
On Pentecost Sunday the greatest gift, the Holy Spirit, was released to renew the face of the earth. In today’s readings we are asked to put it to use - immediately.
“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.”
These words are not music to my ears, for my greatest fear is to be used and abused. But suddenly the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and retorts, Isn’t this what happened to Christ? Don’t forget what happened to him. “The Lord has made known his salvation!” (Ps 98:2a)
I know I should know better and so should you! In dealing with evil, the Lord has instructed us that there is really only one way to win: to lay it all down. I know…I know…this cannot be the way! Of course the Lord does not expect us to be doormats. But he does expect us to rise above the crowd, the mob mentality. I have not been called to be like the rest. I’ve been called to be different, a sign of contradiction. Evil is the absence of God and it is only fought, tooth and nail, by being (bringing) Christ into this broken world.
Yesterday, I celebrated Mass in a Conference Room for four couples. Next to us were dozens of children jumping up and down, screaming and laughing in some Summer Camp activity. A thin wall separated us from them, between Heaven and hell! While I was straining to hear the readings, I began to reflect on the fact that the Apostles were separated from God only by stone walls and a couple of doors. Little did they know that the Holy Spirit was about to penetrate their hearts and minds with His physical presence. Likewise, these children, so near to us, had no clue, no idea, of what was going on right next door to them; that Christ was about to be near to them, physically. What do you think their answer would have been if their instructor had suddenly asked them, “Do you think God is near to you?” I think most of them would have answered the question in various vague ways. Again, little did they know that Christ was so close to them, in the next room.
This is the way it is with us too and for some of us, it is like this all the time. Little do we know what is going on in Heaven and who is actually praying for us at this moment! It may very well be a great-great-great grandmother or relative who is praying right now and for me! We can never assume to know what God has up his sleeve for us! For this reason, we must follow the Lord at all times, convenient or inconvenient.
We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. He has the power to bring joy and love into our lives, and to enlighten and lighten our hearts and minds. He gives us the strength and courage to live our Christian calling worthily. May we never stifle His power or assume His limitations. May we follow Him at all times, good or bad, faithfully and obediently as servants of the Lord. May we be honest to our Christian name; and may we always allow His miracles to take the place of our crocked hands, our stubborn feet and our wicked tongues!
The best way to deal with evil is by letting God handle it!