Lord have mercy on all involved in the tragedy in Orlando, Florida.
I had mixed feelings today as I read the first reading and the Gospel. In 1 Kings 21:1-16, King Ahab’s wife Jezebel did something evil because she was in a position of power. She wrote a letter, in the name of her husband and forced community leaders to stone to death a man name Naboth who would not sell his vineyard to Ahab. The reason he would not sell it was that the Law of the Lord forbade him to give up his ancestral heritage. Therefore, in following the Lord, he died by following the customary law.
I preface this by saying I am unfamiliar with the customs and laws of that era, but if someone of power offered me a better vineyard or proper compensation because one could use that vineyard because it is next to their house, it would seem like a fair request to consider and discern. I probably do not understand ancestral heritage and figure that the better vineyard would be a blessing for my family and future generations.
The Gospel from Matthew 5:38-42 seems to add some credence to my thoughts. Jesus teaches 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.” Jesus continues … “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” I think many of us have heard these very challenging teachings before. If we take them literally, it would be impossible but as Jesus continues, there is a point that I think he is trying to make with you and me.
“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.” Those who read this blog know that I am constantly reminding myself to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. The way that I accomplish that is to love others for the glory of God. I think the point Jesus is making for us today is to pray and discern properly in the Holy Spirit and do the best we can to love each other and even our enemies. Our Lord knows we cannot do it without his grace. We must remain open to accept what he wills to give us. Amen.