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The Lord is kind and merciful. — Psalm 103:8
Mass Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2,17-18 / 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 / Matthew 5:38-48
“An eye for an eye” was not a license for revenge, but rather, a limitation on retribution and a safeguard to ensure that the punishment fit — and was not disproportionate to — the crime (Lv 24:20). Moreover, this was not a permission granted to private individuals, but a guideline for those exercising judicial authority in the community. The “eye for an eye” principle was God’s expression of justice.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes beyond justice, focusing on love and mercy, for which He does not prescribe any limits. The reason Jesus’ disciples are to express radical love and costly forgiveness is because this reflects God’s own character (verse 48). Jesus, by His cross, broke the cycle of violence and vengeance, setting in motion a new law of love. We, His followers, are challenged to do likewise.
Prayer: Merciful God, help me to extend love and mercy without stinting or counting the cost.
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