Yeh dil maange more! Monday – 11th week in Ordinary time- Matthew 5: 38-42

This is a tough one. The last two hyper theses of Jesus are absolutely radical. But because they are difficult to practice it does not make them impossible to live. The lex talionis ‘an eye for an eye’, may sound barbaric in today’s context. However, to a first century citizen it was the law of proportionate response and ensured that justice was proportionate to the offense.  It was not a measure of revenge but a law to prevent revenge.

Found in Exodus 21:22-25 and Deuteronomy 19:21, this Jewish law which regulated revenge was shared by civilizations and dynasties in similar thought. The Romans had it in Law of 12 tables and 8 and the same was found in the code of Hammurabi.

For Jesus, the disciple is a citizen of heaven and so more is demanded.  Forfeiting ones right to an equitable and proportionate response in the face of hatred, Jesus asks his disciples to be different from the citizens of the earth. But does that make a Christian a doormat?

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