Treated as equal

– 30th Week in Ordinary Time –

“On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well” ”  [Matthew 5:38-42]

To ‘turn the other cheek’ is one of those expressions that has entered into our social vocabulary, even for those who do not know its origins in the gospel. But do we actually comprehend what Jesus may have intended by using this image in the first place?”

Without delving too much in the specifics of the cultural setting of this passage, Jesus is asking us to take seriously the way in which we treat people, even those who hurt us. This will involve developing the humility to step back and recognise that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Each of us has an inherent dignity and worth. However, it is often when we feel that we have been treated badly we discover that we are not always free. We find ourselves compulsively responding to what has happened to us, rather than choosing how we will respond as the free sons and daughters of God.

This opens the question as to why it is so hard for us to let go and “forgive those who trespass against us”. Added to this challenge is protecting our own dignity and worth in the process. St Anthony of Padua, who we celebrate today, says “the spirit of humility is sweeter than honey, and those who nourish themselves with this honey produce sweet fruit”

Let’s pray for the grace, patience and wisdom to be able to respect our own worth, while responding to others with humility, dignity and freedom.


by Arnie Hurdoyal

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