SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A – 18th / 19th February, 2023

Jesus instructs his disciples to offer no resistance at all when someone tries to take advantage of them. He then reinterprets the law of love in an even more radical manner, insisting that his disciples’ love must be patterned after God’s love, which is given unquestioningly to the just and the unjust alike. Those who would be known as children of God are expected to love as God does. Jesus tells us to go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, outdo ourselves in generosity and rise above the fray. He is not suggesting that we allow ourselves to be abused, but that we not perpetuate the antagonism out of which the mistreatment arose. He is not advocating passivity, but he is saying that we should not retaliate. Jesus is describing what we today would call active non-resistance. We are also told that the neighbours whom we are to love are those people who do not like us. We are to love those who deliberately exclude us from their social circles, who talk about us behind our backs. We are to love those who make us feel that we are not good enough for them, those who resent us for our accomplishments. We are to love those who exploit us or do us harm. This is indeed a radical teaching.