7th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Reading I: Levi 19:1-2,17-18 II: 1Cor 3:16-23
38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also;
40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well;
41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
"Eye for an eye" is considered cruel, but originally was designed to limit violence: if he plucks your eye out, don't do more than plucking his eye.
"Right cheek" would be struck by the left (weaker) hand, so the main intent is to shame, not to hurt physically.
"Shirt" here is worn next to the skin and covers the whole body, sometimes the only covering a person has (Ex 22:27).
"Force you to go one mile": Roman soldiers had the right to make people carry things for them.
"Give" refers to Dt 15:7-11: "You shall give to him freely."
"Tax collectors" were considered dishonest and collaborating with the enemy, the Romans. They were classified along with Gentiles (18:17), sinners (9:10), and harlots (21:31-32).
"Gentiles" means those outside the descendants of Abraham.
One Main Point
Jesus brings God's law to perfection (continued). Lask week's reading presents four pairs of antitheses, showing that Jesus does not abolish the law but makes it perfect. This week's reading continues with two more pairs of antitheses on the same theme. The images aim to express an overall spirit of perfection rather than set specific rules.
Listen to Jesus' words and tone and gestures. Does he mean what he says? Am I shocked?
Can I follow Jesus in my situation? Do I want to?
How would I be, with the world and in my heart, if I try to follow Jesus to perfection?