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

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?

Jesus teaches non-resistance to evil in favour of a psychological or moral resistance. Very subtly Jesus is saying; humbly shame your attacker in to a change of heart. To do this, Jesus sites three examples most of which have been highly misunderstood by Christians and wrongly interpreted by opportunistic people.

To be slapped in the face was a form of disrespect, especially with the backhand. For Jesus, offering the other cheek was a subtle way in shaming the person who attacked you. At the heart of this action is the desire to reconcile. You can’t reconcile when you seek revenge. Freely offered, the turning of the other cheek works both ways; it humbles the attacker and cools the desire for revenge.

The desire of the Lord is that the disciple must also live an exemplary life in relationship with a fellow Christian. Two squabbling Christians in a court of law make for an unseemly sight to those of other faiths especially in what is often a flawed judicial system.

Finally, drawing from a Persian loanword, angareuein meaning, to compel, He highlights the image of the ‘pony service’ used by the Greco- Roman world in which men were forcibly conscripted to assist in any service demanded by the Romans.   This was used as a tool of control over the colonized nation.  Remember Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus?

Jesus wants the disciple to give more, be more, and do more. Difficult, yes but not impossible! The invitation of Jesus to His disciples could well be summarized in an ad campaign run Pepsi, in India, a few years ago. The line ran. ‘yeh dil maange more’. Translated it simply means, this hearts asks for more.  This is what the Lord wanted from our hearts; this is discipleship.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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One thought on “Yeh dil maange more! Monday – 11th week in Ordinary time- Matthew 5: 38-42”

  • Indeed the Lords word compels one to say ‘ Yes dil manage more’; I feel scriptures are also somewhat like the tagline of Thumbs up: ‘Taste the Thunder’. Coz the word of God is more intense and much much brighter than lightening


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