“Give to the one who asks of you.”

After a couple of days away, we returned yesterday to the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:38-42).  Jesus contrasts the Old Covenant’s “eye for an eye” with His call to pacifism: don’t resist evil persons, turn the other cheek, give more than that for which you are being sued, walk the extra mile, give to the borrower.  How contrary these commands are to our culture and even our natural tendencies.  Yet, in imitation of Christ, who went like a lamb to slaughter, we are called to do the same.  Jesus could have had legions of angels defend Him (Mt 26:53), yet He submitted to Jewish and Roman authorities.  How many times was He slapped during His passion (Mt 26:67).  Did He not walk the most grievous mile ever with a cross on His back to then be rewarded by being crucified to death.  Even His last remnant of clothing He gave away (Jn 19:24).  Left with no possessions, no dignity as humans reckon it, and with a handful of friends and family looking on helplessly, He died an ignominious death.  To almost everyone it appeared that His life and His death were for nothing.  But His mother knew better, and soon many others would know as well.  Jesus gave all for us, and He asks us to give all of ourselves to Him.  On this earth, we do so by prayer, repentance, example, and action.  The One who asks is present to us in the least of our brothers and sisters.  If we give without counting the cost we will receive your reward.

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