It is hard to figure out what to make from our Scriptures today. I recently read in a biblical commentary about the Hebrew myth or tradition, they believe that the Word of God remains upon the earth as an indelible presence of God. And if Jesus Christ is the incarnated Word of God, then his Word remains upon the breath of the earth. Tradition offers if humanity were to remain in silence, then we could hear the Word of God from mount Tabor sharing the Ten Commandments with Moses.
This is the thrust of Naboth’s refusal to sell his land to King Ahaz. Seriously someone should have given him a strong and serious talk that you cannot get what you want. We are introduced to Queen Jezebel. Whose manipulation falls as abuse of power. We feel for Naboth who must have been confused for he was true to his calling in life. The section of today’s Gospel comes from Jesus famous sermon on the mount where he offers us a way to behave. His words are so confusing to our ears. He invites us to rehear the rule in Leviticus 9:24:20 termed non-retaliation. He (Jesus” takes on the culture of the day, “An eye for an eye” (ST.) Mother Teresa had a famous saying: “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind” it simply makes no sense. In reflecting on my life, on those dear friends who have happily moved on from my life, I’m very grateful to those who have forgiven me. They have released me from my chains of bondage. Can you reflect on those who truly have been a Christ to you? or, how about you, have you liberated another?
Scholars in referring to this section of Matthew have offered their insight into breaking the cycle of peace.
I might go out on a limb and offer that Jesus, was well aware of the sacrifice, he wanted to get us to understand his motive so that we can feel liberated and trust in his love. His message was truly radical to us.
Our Psalm offers us beautiful words (psalm, 5), “Lord, listen to my groaning. help me realize your sacrifice for me and be mindful to forgive others.
May we rise today and share your code for humanity, Amen. On this feast of St. Anthony, the Doctor of the Church, may we find your love-in-action may we be surrounded by the newness of your Word, Amen.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.