Going beyond our human standards

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE should never forget that we are meant to live our life with God. Our life therefore should not simply be purely natural and human. It has to be supernatural and divine. The standards we use should not just be human. They should be, above all, divine.

We are reminded of this truth of our faith in that gospel reading of the Mass on Monday of the 4th Week of Easter (cfr. Mk 5,37-42) where Christ told his stunned disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.”

And clarifying what that would mean, he said: “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles…”

Definitely, if we are to consider these words according to our human standards, we would find them crazy. But precisely these words of Christ are an open invitation for us to enter into his supernatural and divine way of life. We can only observe them if we have faith in Christ and do our best to follow him and identify ourselves with him, who after all is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity.

We have to learn how to drown evil with an abundance of good. That’s how things should be. Instead of responding to evil with evil, hatred with hatred, we should rather respond to evil with good, hatred with love. That way we turn things around, rather than plunge into the spiral of evil and hatred.

This was specifically articulated by St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans where he said: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Rom 12,17-20)

We have to try our best to erase whatever disbelief, doubt or skepticism we can have as we consider this teaching, since most likely, our first and spontaneous reaction to it would precisely be those reactions. We can ask, even if done only interiorly, “Is Christ really serious about this? Can this thing that Christ and St. Paul are telling us, possible, doable?”

With God’s grace and our effort, let us learn to live with unavoidable evil in this world.    “Let them grow together until harvest.” That was the answer of the master in one of the parables about the kingdom of heaven. (cfr Mt 13,24-43) He was telling the servants to let the weeds sown by his enemy to grow together with the wheat. Pulling the weed out now would just endanger the wheat, he reasoned out.

This parable is an image of how our life now, with all its good and bad elements, is already the beginning of the kingdom of heaven. We have to learn how to live in this condition, where evil is unavoidable, without getting confused and lost.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com