When we are wronged, most of us really get our back up and want justice or revenge. We get so angry, we want the most extreme punishment possible. In Leviticus, to temper anger and even out justice, we hear the dictum ”eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” It was not meant as a prescription, but a restriction of what we do. A person could not exact a penalty, harsher than what was done to harm. Yet, how often do we hear these words used to justify actions and revenge even today. Sure we heard Jesus say them, but what followed? He said don’t resist evil! If challenged with the law give in, if forced into service as the Romans used to do, just do it. Don’t turn your back on those who wish to borrow. The hardest thing of all, he tells us to love our neighbor. But, he tells us our neighbor includes our enemies. How could that be? Well God created both our loved ones and our enemies. God gave the world to both good and evil people. If as Jesus says, we love only those who love back, what good is that.
God’s love is embedded into our hearts with Baptism and the coming of the Spirit. God’s love takes over and with prayer we come to know and discern what is right. Love tells us the things we must do, it helps us navigate through a whole life’s journey. God’s love enables us to journey through the minefields of life today. Modern day Pharisees and Scribes at times seem to burden humanity just as the people of Israel were once so burdened. Jesus call and commandments are no less essential today as they were when He was put to death for daring to challenge the comfort of written the love God implanted on all our hearts. Finally Jesus said be perfect, as God is perfect. We know such an ideal is impossible yet are we called to any less?