Reject vengence and spite because ‘that’s not who we are’ Print E-mail
Written by Jean Denton   
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

Seventh Sunday
in Ordinary Time

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

A grieving mother, speaking to the press after her son was charged with a deadly act of terrorism, is incredulous. "I don't know where this came from. We have a loving home. Our family always has been respectful and caring," she says. "Why would he do this? That's not who we are!"

We hear that phrase often lately. For instance, congressional leaders condemning torture as a means of getting information from enemies note, "That's not who we are!" An official of a city that had been making progress in race relations laments a hate crime, "That's not who we are!"

Their point is that our family, our country, our community is not one that lives by the power of subjugation and violence. It's not in our makeup. As a people, we renounce such conduct.

This weekend's Scriptures, in both the Old Testament and Matthew's Gospel, exhort God's people to take no revenge on those who hurt them and, in fact, to love their enemies.

According to Leviticus, God tells Moses to instruct his people thusly, "Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge." Why? God explains simply, "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy."

In other words, don't be a vengeful people, because that's not who we are!

Jesus encourages his disciples in the same way, if I may paraphrase: You have heard it said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you offer no resistance to the one who is evil -- because that's not who we are!

This is one of the most difficult teachings to follow. It's human nature to strike back when someone harms or threatens us. More than once have I convinced myself that even if two wrongs don't make a right at least it'll make me feel better. But it doesn't. It just incurs more sin.

These Scriptures emphasize that being the people of God is not about seeking reward for our actions. It's more fundamental than that: It's about our actions growing out of who we are.

Call it integrity; call it honor. God calls it being holy.

This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
Click here to view or subscribe to the daily
Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Pope's Prayer Intention: February 2017 Print E-mail
Beginning in 2017, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two. A second prayer intention related to current events will be added each month. The urgent prayer request will mobilize prayer and attention to an immediate situation. We will add the second intention as soon as it is available.

February Prayer Intention

Comfort for the Afflicted.

That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.

Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2017.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Sunday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 25
Ascension Thursday
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Wednesday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Friday, Dec. 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Monday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


More Articles...