In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus teaches us some of the most challenging words in all of Scripture. He tells us to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us, to give our cloak to someone who takes our coat, to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
These are not easy teachings to follow. In fact, they go against everything that our human nature tells us to do. We are wired to protect ourselves, to defend ourselves, and to retaliate when someone hurts us. But Jesus is calling us to a higher standard. He is calling us to live as he did, with love and compassion for all people, even those who have hurt us.
The first thing we need to understand is that turning the other cheek does not mean we are weak. It takes great strength and courage to respond with love when someone hurts us. It takes humility to let go of our desire for revenge and to trust that God will take care of the situation.
Likewise, when Jesus tells us to give our cloak to someone who takes our coat, he is not telling us to be a doormat. He is telling us to be generous and compassionate, to share what we have with others, even when it hurts.
And when Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, he is reminding us that we are all children of God, and that God loves each and every one of us, no matter how much we may have sinned.
So my brothers and sisters, let us take these words of Jesus to heart. Let us pray for the grace to respond with love and compassion when we are hurt, to be generous and giving even when it hurts, and to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. May we be living examples of the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.