11th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, June 14
2 Cor 6:1-10 / Matthew 5:38-42
We are God's ministers; We seem to have nothing, but have all.
The following excerpt is from a prayer found in the pocket of a dead Confederate soldier: "I asked for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty, that I might be wise… I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God I got nothing I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men most richly blessed."
How do we look upon our crosses and losses? "Afflictions are but the shadows of God's wings." George MacDonald
In the apostolic ministry we are God's fellow-workers. It is not a question of being a worker here, however skilful, efficient, industrious, devoted and intelligent we may be. The stress is on being a fellow-worker. The danger is that a worker in the apostolate may try to work according to his own ideas, thoughts and plans, and forget God's own ideas, thoughts and plans. Then he is a good worker but not a fellow-worker. He may try to make a big splash, but leaves the people dry. The work of God in which a fellow-worker shares is spreading the word of God and being a channel of the grace of God, to bring to the world the fruits of the incarnation and the redemption. The understanding of the word of God we gain in study and prayer; the share in the redemption we gain by bearing our cross and offering ourselves to suffer with him. That is how he redeemed the world. The fruit will be: fortitude, purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the spirit of holiness, a share in the power of God, making others rich, being indifferent to honour or disgrace, dying to ourselves yet alive, fully alive in God.
At first sight it seems to be the most reasonable measure: "tit for tat". Crime and punishment should be weighed on the same scale. But this will lead to the vicious spiral of action and reaction. That action and reaction are the same in the order nature but not of the supernatural order that Jesus came to bring us. Reconciliation is more effective to bring about peace than strict unyielding law and justice. Even this has not to be interpreted pharisaically. Jesus cleansed the temple with a whip, he demanded an answer to his question. "Why" when he was slapped in the court of the high priest. Siv times he pronounced a woe when he the Pharisees. His was not a weak, pale charily. The Christian has to create that atmosphere in which love is possible.
To live as a Christian is as good as saying that we are prepared to face the contradictions of life. Because the teachings of Jesus are full of contradictions - the cross itself is a contradiction.
Jesus tells us not to repay the unjust by revenge. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is not Christian. We must rather suffer injustice and let people take advantage of us, at least when the injustice is done against us. But other parts of the scriptures tell us to defend others if they are wronged, like the poor, and to fight injustice through goodness and forgiveness. That is how we must break the spiral of evil.
Prayer: Lord our God, the injustice found in the world upsets us. Forgive us the wrongs we have committed and do not allow us to add to the evil in the world by exploiting our brothers and sisters and using them for our own purposes. Rather teach and help us to stand up for integrity and truth, not to take revenge but out of the goodness of our hearts. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen