Fr Albert’s Reflection – 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Teaching about revenge, (An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth) the Old Testament might seem somewhat vindictive. However, we need to keep in mind that this Old Testament law was to prevent people from inflicting undue punishment upon one another. It prevented retribution from being greater than the offence which evoked it. Jesus’ Gospel teaching on forgiveness runs counter to all that we feel in our hearts concerning how to relate to others. Jesus came to fulfil the law and the prophets, and not to abolish them; “Be perfect …as your heavenly Father is perfect”. This perfection has to do with our ability to be like Jesus and to love as he loved. Only in Jesus can the wall of hostility between people be broken down. In all this, how do we fare? Have we hurt dear family members? Do we love and respect those in authority? Do we hold grudges and resentment? Do we make cutting or cynical remarks? Do we love those who are our neighbours and those in the neighbourhood of the world? How about the poor and the helpless? Those who cannot defend themselves? Do we love those of different religions, of racial groups, nationalities or social classes? When we are wronged, our first response must be to say in our hearts that we believe Jesus died on the cross for everyone; that his victory is stronger than our hunger for revenge. We can then ask God for the grace to forgive, to return good for evil. The more we live this out, the stronger will the love of God grow within us.