Summary: The extra mile and turning the other cheek

7A Sun.

We are back to Matthew 5, and in verse 41 we hear about going the extra mile.

1). It’s not conflict avoidant because the subjugated person forced to carry the luggage of a Roman solider beyond the customary one mile actually creates a dilemma for the soldier who would worry that he would face punishment for exacting service for excessive distances.

The verse has been expanded to include all types of extra service.

Philippians 2:4: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others".

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.

E.g. Second mile service for a business— A fast food executive asks, "What do our customers expect in the first mile?

They expect a clean parking lot, soap in the dispenser. They expect two pickles on the sandwich." But this company goes the second mile. The second mile for the average $ 7 order is fresh flowers on all the tables, fresh ground pepper, with second-mile vocabulary like, "May I refresh your beverage?" "I'll be assisting you to your table today"--unexpected words and phrases that are a way of saluting these customers and saying that we care about you, personally. [The company is Chick-fil-A).

At home, and in marriage, it’s about the best interest of my spouse. Wash or fuel the car, excuse her from grocery shopping, allow him/her to sleep in; these things cannot be prescribed or required in advance but they help in smooth functioning, like helping coworkers; tolerating temporary impositions without complaint; supporting the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal.

2). Verse 39 speaks of a slap on the right cheek, which would involve a back-handed slap from a right-handed person.

In Jewish jurisprudence such a slap was regarded as far more insulting than a normal slap and involved a double penalty.

Turning the other cheek is a creative response that robs the aggressor of the power to humiliate and shames the one who intended to inflict shame.

Psychologically speaking, this teaching to turn the other cheek reveals that agreeable individuals are able to short-circuit the cue-aggression sequence, likely by recruiting prosocial thoughts in response to aggression-related primes.

Offer no resistance to the one who is evil is the principle of non-retaliation. But, in certain circumstances another rule or law takes precedence, like self-defense. The point of the `turning the other cheek teaching’ is that there is a way to work out problems, even the problem of evil to prevent it from escalating.

Jesus realized that violence produces only more violence. St. Maximilian Kolbe was asked by a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz, "Shouldn't we hate the Nazis?" His answer was, "No, because only love conquers." We view those who have hurt us as wounded. What they have done to us is only a symptom of their brokenness.

e.g. I'm grateful for my fans, friends, & my enemies for they all are a part of my testimonies.

From Leviticus 19 in our First Reading we heard the Golden Rule: love your neighbor as yourself.

In from our Gospel text today, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

Love, as a commandment, concerns not feelings but deeds that reflect faithfulness to the covenant. Nowhere in the Bible is there a command to hate the enemy. Our heavenly Father's goodness knows no bounds. He loves and cares for everybody: the good, bad, and indifferent.

To be perfect is to be in process.

We are hard-wired to be happy only when we love.

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