7th SUN ORD 2017 – “You’re kidding me, right…?”
OK, buckle up for safety… or what passes for safety in your world. Here’s where the Sermon on the Mount serves as a great Rorschach (Ink Blot) test. Please note your reactions, as I will do.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.
“Are you kidding me! What kind of drivel is this? You obviously do not live in the real world, Jesus. Turn the other cheek after 9/11? Ha! We sure showed them!”
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
“Pray for Obama? For Trump? What a crock! He’s an enemy of the Church and the world. He should be tried and convicted of…”
Here’s my current theory: Anger, impatience, gossiping, rage, even righteous anger protects each of us from the truth of our existence – we are creatures of God. We are small and insignificant. We are neither in control nor have a say in any matter in the universe. It’s easy to say this. Yet when we feel threatened, many of us launch a strong offense.
When I become angry, I effectively avoid this reality by inflating myself to be bigger than I really am. I pretend I am not fearful, powerless, insecure, uncertain, limited, exposed to harm, broken, vulnerable, or impotent. So, when I join my anger to the rage of my ideologically compatible group, I feel much bigger and important and potent than I am, we are.
Hating another, scapegoating others creates a false sense of oneness that disintegrates when my enemies die. Until the next time.
That’s the paradox of anger: I show myself as Defender of My Kingdom and the woundedness my fortress protects. If I didn’t feel vulnerable, I wouldn’t need to defend it, right?
So, it seems to me that Jesus’ teaching here serves as a Rorschach. What might we learn by reacting honestly to his words?
Your thoughts? –roc,sj