17 June, 2013. Monday of the Eleventh Week
2 Cor 6:1ff. Paradox of the apostolate: a poor man who enriches many.
Matt 5:38ff. The challenge to offer the other cheek and go the extra mile.
First Reading: 2 Co 6:1-10
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see – we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothin, and yet possessing everything.
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
Generosity of Spirit
Some of Paul’s phrases echo some points of heroic endurance in his wandering ministry for the sake of the Gospel: “We are called imposters, and yet we are truthful; nobodies but in fact are well known; considered dead, yet here we are alive; punished, but not put to death; sorrowful, though always rejoicing; poor, yet enriching many; seeming to have nothing, yet everything is ours.” It is clear how courageous he was in standing firm for the Gospel, not only against external threats and dangers but even in face of some temporary wavering by Peter himself, about the equal treatment of Gentile converts (Gal. 2:1-10). His unswerving obedience to the call he received from God eventually found him numbered among the pillars of the Church. He wrote: “poor, yet enriching many; called an imposter, yet truthful.” We rejoice to have such witnesses within our family of faith, and thank God for their inspiration. Jesus’ ideals in the Sermon on the Mount are exemplified for us in a dramatic way by Paul’s perseverance in the apostolate. In today’s passage he calls for a huge level of generosity of spirit, to go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and share whatever we have, with others.