Daily Archives: February 23, 2020

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

23 February 2020

Reflecting on Matthew 5:38-48

Of all the examples Jesus gives of nonviolent  resistance—turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile—it’s that business of the tunic that’s hardest, especially in bleak mid-winter.

Jesus says, “If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.” Try this. Imagine that you need milk and cereal for your kids, but you’re several dollars short at Walmart. The owner says, “Well, it’s snowing and it’s freezing. Give me your parka as collateral.”

Your kids are hungry, so you leave the store with your groceries and go stand at the bus stop with just a sweater to warm you. That parka is your only coat, so when the sun goes down it’s too bitterly cold to go back to the store to deliver the few dollars. In the morning, the police arrive to take you to jail because you haven’t paid for the groceries yet.

Now you’re in front of the judge, shivering in your thin sweater. “Here,” you say, taking off the only protective garment you own. “Since having my parka is so important to the owner, give him my sweater as well.”

It’s all about mercy. We are never to cast such a burden upon people that their most basic needs can’t be met. Hence the scripture, “If you take  your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset, for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body” (Exodus 22:26-27).

Use your wits, Jesus says. If your situation puts you in a position of servitude to a Financial Giant, find a way to make him look very small indeed.

How are you helping those without a coat this winter?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

23 February 2020

Reflecting on Matthew 5:17-37

Wouldn’t Jesus, the Master Teacher, have fun shredding some of our favorite cultural proverbs? I can just imagine the scene:

You have heard it said, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but I say to you, “All that is hidden shall be made clear. All that is dark now shall be revealed” (Luke 8:17).

You have heard it said, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” but I say to you, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven…where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6: 19-21).

You have heard it said, “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” but I say to you, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people” (Leviticus 19:17).

You have heard it said, “Look out for Number One, because nobody else will” but I say to you, “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).

You have heard it said, “Life’s terrible, and then you die,” but I say to you, “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:3-5).

You have heard it said that the bible says, “God helps those who help themselves,” but I say to you, “No, that’s Aesop’s Fables, not the bible. Go and find the Samaritan Woman at the Well, or the Man Born Blind, or Lazarus in the tomb. They will tell you that God helps those who cannot help themselves.”

Ah, so true. Thanks, Jesus.

What family proverbs do you have that Jesus could easily overturn?

Kathy McGovern ©2020