“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.’” (MT 5: 38-39)
This is a difference started with Our Lord and the New Testament. And this is a difference in our lives when we decided to follow Our Lord and to trust Him, not to make choices based on “political correctness” or what the majority think. We are His children and we want to follow His rules.
“A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (JN 16: 13-15)
We, like children, need to be guided to “all truth.” As children we met our Guardian Angels; we learned who Jesus is, and later we learned how to pray the Our Father. We met Our Lady and other saints, our patrons. Later we met the Holy Spirit and started learning about God, Who is One and lives in Three Persons. Now we know much more about unity which doesn’t need uniformity, different activities and different roles serve the same purpose and identity, respecting diversity. The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity every year brings more and more gifts.
“Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God who is, who was, and who is to come.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 COR 5: 18-19)
Who we are, that we became “ambassadors for Christ,” serving with “the ministry of reconciliation?” It is not because we are extremely talented in this field or possessing special gifts; it is because we know reconciliation from our own lives, we who received the gift of reconciliation from our God, “Who has reconciled us to himself through Christ” and “entrusted to us the message of reconciliation.” We know how important this is in marriage and family life. There is no option for growing without reconciliation.
“Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees; and favor me with your law.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” (2 COR 4: 7-10)
We are sometimes so upset with our “earthen vessels.” We forget that this have some important reasons: “that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” We are not living for ourselves; our lives have a better and bigger purpose—“so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” We are His children, and we are invited to “shine like lights.”
“Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (MT 5: 23-24)
“Your brother”—it could be our spouse, our child, our friend or our coworker. It is so important for every relationship, but especially for the family and marriage, to finish every day with a word of apology and with a word of gratitude. God’s word is very simple: “go first,” don’t wait for your “more guilty” spouse or don’t look for excuses (it was my boss, who made me late home); just “go first.” Make it simple. And big.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” (MT 5: 19)
“Obeys and teaches” needs to go together. When we teach without observing, our teaching is empty; when we obey without teaching, we are not showing respect to God, Who wants us to proclaim the Good News with many; we become selfish.
“Teach me your paths, my God, and guide me in your truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.” (ACTS 11: 21-24)
We are people of faith; we were filled with the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and Confirmation, “upgraded” with the Sacrament of Matrimony (or Priesthood), so what we need to be like St. Barnabas is to be a “good people.” It is about gentleness, respect and being a gift of self; it is about protecting our identity and communicating with respect and understanding and being grateful for everything. Being “a good man” is doable, and we can start with good words to our relatives and with a smile to people we pass by.
“Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Gospel Acclamation)
“All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (ACTS 1: 14)
She knows Our Lord like no one else—She is His mother. They spent 30 years together, and She was His best follower. Because She not only knows Him but also loves Him in a very unique way, She can be our teacher, our adviser and our help. Our Lord made Her also our Mother.
“O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, ‘Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?’” (ACTS 2: 6-8)
“In his own language”—how detailed and protective is God’s love. He knows how different we are, what different experiences and family backgrounds we have; He knows about our wounds and rejections, our pains but also about our joys. He loves us, so He speaks to our hearts with gentleness and respect, always more focused on us than on Himself. He loves.
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (ACTS 28: 30-31)
Our homes and even rented apartments or “lodgings” could be places of evangelization, not just our churches or catechism classes at schools. We are all invited to proclaim the Gospel. We encounter different challenges—from our small children to difficult teenagers; from nice, open minded neighbors to closed homes with very strong gates; everywhere is a space for “proclaiming the Kingdom of God.”
“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)