FINDING AN ANSWER TO DIFFICULT QUESTIONS
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 21:1-16; Ps. 5:2-3ab, 4b-6a, 6b-7; Mt. 5:38-42
My dear encountered couples:
Much has passed in the last few weeks. The Corona virus seems to have peaked but the economic and mental impact is far from over: Two violent deaths that have caught our national attention and riots throughout the country. Today’s reading seems to bring relevance to our current time.
How far are we expected to go for people? What does God want us to do when we feel like we have done not only as much as we can but more than common sense dictates? Those are questions not easy to answer. And today’s short gospel passage taken from the Sermon on the Mount doesn’t help us much. “If anyone wants to go to law over your shirt, hand him your coat as well,” Jesus said. “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the man who begs from you. Do not turn your back on your own.” Are we supposed to take these teachings of Jesus literally? Are we supposed to devote all our time and spend all our money on those who need help both those in our families and those outside?
How about alcoholics, drug addicts, selfish people, lazy people, those who can’t or won’t hold onto a job? Are we supposed to put up with their repeated drunkenness, support them, risk our health, and let them use us for a door mat? I’m afraid I can’t give you a yes or no answer. I’ve been used by people many, many times; many of my efforts for others have ended in failure? I often ask myself, “Have I really helped anyone, or do I just make matters worse?”
Well, two things you can consider when doing things for people: First, whatever it is you want to do for someone, consider if it will really help them to become better people deep inside, or if it will merely spoil them and make them worse.
Second, if you go ahead and try to help people, then find they don’t appreciate what you are doing and all your efforts seem to fail; if it is making you a better, more loving person, then it certainly is not a complete failure. It is preparing you for heaven. And isn’t that what your life is all about?