An eye for an eye

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus quotes the Book of Exodus on the subject of personal injury, which said: “But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Ex 21:23-25) These words actually limit the degree of retaliation one can inflict on others; i.e., if one is unjustly injured by another, the ensuing retaliation cannot surpass the originally incurred injury. Rather than encouraging vengeance, it actually forbids excessive vengeance.

Jesus teaches His disciples to surpass the Mosaic Law. He tells His disciples that instead of seeking vengeance, they are to turn the other cheek, hand over their tunic or go the extra mile. If the expected behavior for someone who has been unjustly injured is vengeance, then the disciples of Christ are to surpass it by demonstrating unexpected charity. In fact, Jesus tells His disciples to love their enemies. Jesus taught us to love our enemies not just in words but through His own example. In Jerusalem, Jesus did not resist those who arrested Him, those who put Him on trial, and those who beat Him, mocked Him and tortured Him. All that time Jesus turned the other cheek. Dying on the cross, Jesus showed his love for his enemies by saying: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. (Lk 23:34)”

Jesus concluded: “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48).” In order to understand this meaning, let us turn to the Book of Leviticus, in which the Lord said to Moses: “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Lev 19:2) Immediately following this, various rules of conduct were enumerated for the Israelites to follow. It is clear to see that in the Book of Leviticus, God exhorts the Israelites to be holy, because He is Holy. In the same way, Jesus exhorts His disciples to be perfect, just as the Father in heaven is perfect. And the way they can strive to be perfect is by following Jesus’ teachings.

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The regularly scheduled Mass in Chinese and the imposition of ashes will begin at noon.

The Lenten Retreat (in Chinese) will take place on March 7, 2020 beginning at 1pm. Fr. Bill has invited Fr. Shuxin Zhang to lead this year’s retreat. Fr. Zhang is currently Pastor at Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston, TX. The theme of the retreat will be “Enter the desert, know yourself, renew life, rise with Christ!” All are invited to attend.

Thank you for your generous donations to Jinde Charities. Our total collection was $1,976. At this time, the supplies have been bought and shipped to Fr. Joseph Lin of St. Agatha Parish in Brooklyn, New York.

If you have received a letter from the Archdiocese regarding the Archbishops Annual Appeal, please note that instead of sending your contributions directly to the Archdiocese, we will have a second collection next Sunday for the Annual Appeal. Our assessment for this fiscal year is $2,835. Whether donating via cash or check, if you want your donation included in your year-end contribution statement, please use the special envelopes for the Annual Appeal. Please make checks payable to HNOJ and write “Annual Appeal” in the memo.