19 Feb 2016: Being Exceptional


Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1:Lev. 19: 1-2 & 17-18; Ps. 103: 1-13; Reading 2: 1 Cor. 3: 16-23; Gospel: Mt. 5: 38-48

In today’s Gospel passage Jesus gives us a whole different vision of life. He breaks radically not only from the culture of his time but from what was religiously acceptable. Jesus is not going against the law, but beyond the law. What he exhorts us today is to be different, to be exceptional. History is always written by those who did things in an exceptional way. We all are familiar with the oft repeated statement: “we are called not to do extraordinary things but ordinary things in an extraordinary way.” But Jesus throws a challenge: do what is extraordinary. Loving enemies is not the ordinary impulse but Jesus throws that challenge; praying for enemies is not ordinary but here too Jesus asks us whether we are ready to be different. Retaliation is the natural instinct of a human being but Jesus calls for patient endurance. Thus in a way Jesus asks us to be exceptional. Perfection consists in being an exception. A guitarist who practices only during the teaching hours will never become an expert. But if one finds time and makes sacrifices to practice and goes beyond what is prescribed in the exercise book is surely on the way to perfection. It involves a lot of risks and toughness. Any sports team will have to take the tougher part to be perfect. Moral and spiritual perfection too can be only achieved like this: by being exceptional.


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