Matthew 5:38-48: The Inverted Kingdom – Part VIII
Adapted from a Favorite written on December 4, 2009.
Today’s reading gives us the core of Jesus’ message: Resist evil and take no revenge; love our enemies . . . intercede for those who do us harm. This is a difficult teaching, a complex lesson that unfolds to us as we live each day. When we unwrap the bundle of fear and anxiety we feel, we begin to understand pain and suffering and because we might be consumed by it, we want to step away . . . but we cannot. We must open ourselves to transformation by our willingness to be vulnerable just as Jesus does.
It struck me this morning as Mass began that of course God comes to us an infant needing our care and attention. He submits himself to our ministrations – no matter how adequate or inadequate – and by this example he shows us how we too, are to live. And if we allow him to subsume our entire being, we will realize that this presence of Christ in us is The Presence we continually seek.
From this morning’s mini-reflection in MAGNIFICAT: The lowly will find joy and the pure rejoice. Why? Because of a Presence that even a blind man can sense . . . because it is the Presence we have been waiting for all our life.
Because Christ brings us a message of inversion, he comes to us as an extraordinarily powerful sovereign and creator in the form of a human infant. This is a revolutionary idea. It is an existence that challenges all that has gone before. It is in this humble form that Jesus first draws us in . . . to later invite us to intimacy with him.
It is this intimacy, this presence, that we know we are missing – and that we try to fill with immediate pleasure and satisfaction.
It is this communion, this presence, that we constantly seek in all of the places that we will not find in the emptiness of success, money and power.
It is this love, this presence, that manifests itself – and that asks us to manifest our own selves – by praying and by acting on behalf of our enemies.
I have read the prophet Isaiah many times and yet this morning as I read out the first reading at Mass, I was struck by this verse (29:24): And those who err in spirit will acquire understanding, and those who find fault will receive instruction. Learning about Christ and learning how to live in Christ is a continual process into which we are always welcome to enter . . . at any time . . . in any circumstance. Even those of us who come late to the lesson, or those of us who come with unwilling heart will eventually arrive at accepting the message we do not want to hear . . . which is: We save ourselves by loosing ourselves to Christ; we fill ourselves by emptying ourselves of all that is worldly; and we find The Presence we have always been seeking when we rest and act in the love that is Christ.
Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 4 December 2009. Print.