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Back Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Friday, February 22, 2019
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
One of my childhood memories includes my mom’s use of discipline, throughout our childhood. For the most part physical discipline was to be feared and most of us children tried to avoid any need to warrant it. One of my brothers though would totally disarm my mom’s attempt of physical discipline. While the three of us would run for cover and try to avoid contact, he would just stand there and take it trying not to react. The discipline, though inflicting physical pain, was not achieving its desired effect. In a sense he totally disarmed my mother’s power over him. In this weekend’s biblical lessons, we are exposed to a similar teaching in disarming would be aggressors. We begin with an account from the first book of Samuel Chapter 26. Saul, the King, harbored jealousy against the young David. This was due to the fact that God was obviously beginning to work mighty deeds through David and Saul was feeling threatened. While Saul and his army were in hot pursuit of David in order to kill him, God provided an opportunity for David to have victory over the chosen king. David and his assistant Abishai were able to covertly enter the king’s camp and the king’s very own dwelling. Abishai wrongly thought that this opportunity was so that David could kill the king. But David chose only to take the King’s spear and water jug as proof of their opportunity. In the morning David called out to the king and his men to come and retrieve the spear and water jug as proof that David had the opportunity, but did not act on desecrating the properly anointed King of Israel. This powerful act of restraint totally disarmed the jealously of the king and helped him recognize that David was not his enemy. At the time of Jesus, “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” was the manner of life and the foundation of civil justice. But in the teachings of Jesus as recorded in Luke 6, Jesus presents a manor of action that appears to be totally opposite to human nature. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” “if a person takes your cloak, turn and offer him your tunic as well,” “Be merciful just as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Luke 6:27,29,36). What sort of insanity is this? Jesus knows that these actions would be so out of character for most people of his day and even our day and age. Yet our aggressors would be disarmed and such actions would take away the power and supposed authority of any aggressor. “An evil returned by another evil only succeeded in multiplying it, instead of leading to its reduction. It was a universal law,” Gandhi said, “that violence could never be quenched by superior violence, but could only he quenched by non-violence……Forgiveness was the quality of the brave, not of the cowardly” (Teachings of Gandhi). The teachings of Jesus, as well as Gandhi’s tradition of non-violent resistance fueled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the power of the Civil Rights movement, within our country’s turbulent times. These teachings still need to be studied and applied in many situations of life today. May the Lord Jesus enable us to disarm those who may wish us harm by the tools of non-violent Justice and Peace.