An Eye for an Eye?

I was reading over this past Sunday’s Gospel reading – particularly the part about turning the other cheek when someone strikes you, because this passage is one that I have carried around in my heart and have tried to live out to the best of my abilities.  However, it is one that I am not certain I completely understand.

After reading and re-reading this Gospel selection, I’ve realized that perhaps I’ve been thinking about it all wrong.  This idea was further enforced after I read a homily online by Father Bill O’Malley, a Jesuit priest, who posts his Sunday homilies in a forum titled “Sermons Unsuited for Sheep.”  He had this to say about the idea of “turning the other cheek” and the concept of what he calls “meek, mild, mealy-mouthed” Christians: “Jesus couldn’t have meant that – because he didn’t act that way himself” and says, “When he himself was hauled into court, he refused to give in; if he had, he wouldn’t have been executed.” These words really had me go back and re-examine what those words by Jesus mean for my life.

The more I think about it, the more I believe Jesus was not trying to tell us to be pushovers and to grin and bear it when someone does something against us.  It seems to me to be more a call of defiance.  The concept of turning the other cheek now appears to be a call to not back down, if they want something from you, give them more than they ask for, and, literally, go the extra mile.

What do you think Jesus was trying to teach in this Bible story?


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