Sometimes the idea of repentance seems old-fashioned, naïve, even foolish. But if you’re looking for real foolishness, you’ll find it in today’s readings.
We begin with Leviticus and the admonition, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge” (Leviticus 19:18). We’ve heard that message before, of course, so we might forget how far it is from the so-called “practical realities of life.” Saint Paul warns us about being practical, though. Whoever considers oneself wise had better “become a fool,” because “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God” (1 Corinthians 3:18, 19).
This “foolishness” continues in the Gospel: “Offer no resistance to one who is evil” (Matthew 5:39). In fact, offer the other cheek when you’ve been slapped. Hand over your coat as well as your shirt. Be like God, who sends sunshine and rain on the bad as well as the good. “So be perfect,” says Jesus, “just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48).
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First Reading — Take no revenge and cherish no grudge; love your neighbor as yourself
(Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18).
Psalm — The Lord is kind and merciful (Psalm 103).
Second Reading — You are the temple of God, and holy (1 Corinthians 3:16-23).
Gospel — Offer no resistance; love your enemies (Matthew 5:38-48).