Monday 15 June 2020

Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Word for today
The Gospel of Matthew 5:38-42

Deadly and vital procedures 

First procedure.
Offer no resistance to one who is evil, literally: do not resist [Greek: anthìstemi] he who is evil. Anthìstemi - formed by the adverb antì, "against, opposite", together with the verb ìstemi, "I put, I place" - means: "I resist, I hold on, I endure, I withstand, I contradict, I oppose, I set against." It expresses the spiritual state of being, living, being rooted, being embedded and structured against something or someone, of being in revolt, in challenge, in a state of comparison, opposite to, faced against, in conflict with. Any non-acceptance of reality in our interior dialoogue automatically involves being in opposition, being against, moving in revolt. By his very origin and divine nature, man tends to reject evil, because he is intended and predisposed towards what is good and to love. Satan uses this natural human inclination to have nothing to do with evil, to lead him into evil, so that he will come to reside stably in evil. The most powerful temptation is to provoke man to live in an antì condition, in a state of normal opposition and revolt. The vital procedure, according to the Gospel, is precisely choosing to be and to remain in a non-resistance condition, that is in not placing oneself in state of revolt, challenge, or opposition. The law of retaliation, as a form of resistance or of opposition to evil, feeds and nourishes the power and the strength of the Evil One. Instead of resisting, Jesus offers another way. Literally it is written: Who slaps you in the right cheek, turn [Greek: strèpho] to him the other one, too. Jesus suggests to turn the other one, too, literally, overturn, reverse: the ancient root of this verb, strèpho, is the Akkadian turbu'u, "whirlwind." It is to say, overturn the evil with a choice that is like a whirlwind, a total upheaval of the evil. Do not use evil to oppose evil; overturn the system with a whirlwind, with a superior energy of love and forgiveness.
Second procedure.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him  [Greek: aphìemi] your cloak as well. Aphìemi, a verb that has many meanings in Hebrew, means: "I let it go, I let free, I abandon, I leave it in peace, l allow, I give back." Letting go, not holding is the second procedure offered by Jesus to live safely and peacefully. Letting go is never an act of indifference, a lack of passion, commitment, or concern. If you feel the the tension of holding on to something, it is undoubtedly because someone is taking something away from you. It is this state of holding on inside and outside that sows evil and death. Jesus offers an alternative, an unusual and strange way, which the human mind finds difficult to conceive of: letting go, not holding on. Not holding on means If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Amazing, astonishing, unbelievable, unimaginable. It is beyond any comprehension, any mental or moral process. It is beyond any training, constitution, culture, politics, justice, law, convention, belief or principle. It is beyond all wisdom, philosophy, or religion. It is even beyond love and sharing. It is totally beyond any possible interpretation or reading. This is the Gospel, this is Jesus.
Third procedure.
Literally: To anyone who asks of you, give to him [Greek: dìdomi and if anyone wants to borrow from you, do not turn back on him. The procedure is dìdomi, "I give, I entrust, I allow, I give back, I consign, I give as a reward." Dìdomi contains all the meanings referring to giving, donating, distributing, providing, rewarding. The third procedure is gratuitousness. It means learning to give and to offer without being afraid of losing or giving up anything and without expecting anything in return. Indeed giving freely immediately reveals how
the uncontrollable feeling of losing or giving up something is really only a  powerful illusion.
To the deadly and destructive state of anthìstemi, which is the state of being in opposition and revolt, the Gospel offers the antidote of acceptance, which is, in other words, a spiritual state of gratitude. And to the deadly and destructive state of retaining, of not letting it go, Jesus offers the antidote of dìdomi, that is the spiritual state of giving with gratitude freely.
Satan's procedure is opposition-revolt-holding.
The Lord Jesus' procedure is gratuitousness-gratitude-letting go.