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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflection for February 19

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

February 19, 2017 —Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5:38-48
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

I’d like to have been watching the crowd when Jesus said:  “Offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.” Jesus’ hearers must have been stunned by these words!

Was Jesus saying that a husband should do nothing while an intruder murdered his wife and children? That a woman robbed of her purse should run after the thief and give him her watch? That a doctor should spend hours listening to the complaints of a hypochondriac instead of caring for other patients?  

No. To understand what Jesus meant, we must view his words in the light of his command to love the neighbor. Love sees people as more important than insults (the slap), property (the coat and cloak), or time (walking the extra mile). There are occasions when love of neighbor calls us to overlook insults, share possessions, and give of our time.

But there are situations when love calls us to confront evildoers, protect property, and walk away from those who waste our time. Jesus did not turn the other cheek when slapped by a temple officer (John 18:23). Jesus drove thieving money‑changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12-13). Jesus did not walk the extra mile to please Herod Antipas, and when brought before Herod, Jesus refused to speak to him (Luke 9:9; 23:9).

When should we suffer in silence, and when should we confront evildoers? We find answers by determining what is most loving, what is best for the other. This may mean silence in one case, confrontation in another. As we come to know Jesus better through study and prayer, we’ll learn to choose as he does. Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal will help. She stood silently at the foot of the Cross. She stands triumphant on the serpent’s head, crushing evil underfoot. She stands always with Jesus, and invites us to do the same.

 Read last week's reflection.