Daily Gospel – Monday, June 17, 2024 – Matthew 5,38-42 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (1 Kings 21,1-16)

Reading of the First Book of Kings.

At that time: Naboth of Jezrael owned a vineyard in Jezrael, next to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth: “Give me your vineyard, so that I can transform it into a vegetable garden, as it is close to my house. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard, or, if you prefer, I will pay you its value in money.” But Naboth answered Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”

Ahab returned home upset and irritated because of this answer that Naboth of Jezreel gave him: “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay down on the bed, facing the wall, and didn’t want to eat anything. His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are you sad and don’t want to eat?” He replied: “Because I spoke with Naboth of Jezreel and made him the proposal that he would give me his vineyard for his price in money, or, if he preferred, I would give him another vineyard in exchange. But he replied that he would not give me the vineyard “. Then his wife Jezebel said to him: “You are making a fine image of the king of Israel! Get up, eat food and be in good spirits, for I will give you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel.”

She then wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with the royal seal, and sent them to the elders and nobles of the city of Naboth. In the letters it was written as follows: “Proclaim a fast and make Naboth sit among the first of the people, and bribe two wicked men against him, who will bear this testimony: ‘You have cursed God and the king!’ Then take him out and stone him until he dies.”

The men of the city, elders and noble fellow citizens of Naboth, did according to the order received from Jezebel, as it was written in the letters she had sent to them. They proclaimed a fast and made Naboth sit among the first of the people. The two wicked men came, sat down before him, and testified against Naboth before the whole assembly, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” As a result, they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent the news to Jezebel: “Naboth was stoned and killed.” Upon learning that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab: “Get up and take possession of the vineyard that Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for his money price; for Naboth is no longer alive; he is dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 5,38-42)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said: ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!’ But I say to you: Do not confront anyone who is evil! On the contrary, if someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer them your left too! cloak! If someone forces you to walk a kilometer, walk two with him!

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God reveals to us today profound lessons about justice, humility and the radicality of love that we are called to live as followers of Christ. Today’s readings, taken from the First Book of Kings and the Gospel of Matthew, invite us to reflect on our attitudes towards injustice and revenge, challenging us to act with a love that transcends human logic.

Let’s begin with the First Reading, taken from the First Book of Kings, chapter 21, verses 1 to 16. In this passage, we find the story of Naboth and his vineyard, a story of greed, injustice and abuse of power. King Ahab desired Naboth’s vineyard, which was located near the royal palace. Naboth, being faithful to the traditions and heritage of his ancestors, refused to sell or trade his vineyard. Enraged and frustrated, Ahab returned home, where his wife Jezebel devised an evil plan to obtain the vineyard by force. She forged letters in the king’s name, falsely accusing Naboth of blasphemy and treason, which resulted in his execution. With Naboth dead, Ahab took possession of the vineyard.

This story reveals to us how far greed and the desire for power can take someone. Justice was corrupted, innocence was sacrificed, and the truth was subverted to satisfy the selfish desires of Ahab and Jezebel. We see here a clear example of how abuse of power and corruption destroy lives and destroy the moral fabric of society.

Now, let’s reflect on how this reading applies to us today. We may not have the power of a king, but how often do we allow our personal desires to lead us to compromise our values? How many times have we witnessed or even participated in injustice because it was convenient for us? Naboth’s story challenges us to examine our hearts and act with integrity, even when doing so is difficult or unpopular.

We now turn to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verses 38 to 42. Jesus presents us with a series of teachings that, at first glance, may seem radical and difficult to accept. “You have heard that it was said: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you: do not resist the evil one. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer him your left cheek as well. If someone wants to sue to take your tunic, give him your cloak as well. If anyone forces you to walk one kilometer, walk two with him.”

Here, Jesus calls us to overcome the logic of retribution and revenge, replacing it with the logic of love and mercy. He challenges us to respond to evil with good, injustice with generosity, hatred with love. This is one of Jesus’ most revolutionary teachings and also one of the most difficult to practice.

Let’s imagine an everyday situation. Let’s think about someone who offends us at work, who treats us unfairly or speaks badly about us. Our natural reaction is to reciprocate in kind, defend our pride, and seek revenge. However, Jesus invites us to a different path, a path that reflects God’s unconditional love. He calls us to respond with patience, to turn the other cheek, to give in more than is required of us.

To illustrate this teaching, let us remember the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. When he was stripped of his possessions and ridiculed, he did not respond with hatred or revenge. Instead, he embraced voluntary poverty and dedicated his life to serving others, showing that true wealth lies in love and mercy.

Now, putting the two readings together, we see a powerful contrast. In the First Book of Kings, we witness injustice and revenge in its rawest form, with Ahab and Jezebel destroying Naboth’s life out of greed. In the Gospel, Jesus offers us a divine alternative: the radicality of love and forgiveness. He shows us that true power is not in domination or retribution, but in the love that sacrifices and gives itself.

What lessons can we take from these readings for our lives? First, we are called to act with justice and integrity, like Naboth, even in the face of pressure and power. We must not compromise our values for convenience or personal gain. Second, we are challenged to respond to injustice with love and forgiveness, following the example of Jesus. This does not mean being passive in the face of evil, but choosing a response that reflects God’s mercy and grace.

Let’s now reflect on how we can apply these lessons to our daily lives. We can start by examining our hearts and our actions. Are we acting with fairness and integrity in our daily interactions? Are we willing to forgive those who offend us, to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile?

Let us also think about the situations in which we were wronged. How do we respond? Do we hold grudges and seek revenge, or do we choose to forgive and move on? The practice of forgiveness is not easy, but it is essential to experience the fullness of Christian love.

Now, let’s close our eyes and have a moment of silence. Let us ask God for the grace to live according to his teachings, to act justly and to respond to evil with good. May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen us to be true followers of Christ, reflecting his love in all our actions.

Lord, we thank You for Your Word that challenges and inspires us. Help us to live with integrity and justice, to forgive those who offend us and to respond to evil with good. May we be light in the world, reflecting Your love in every action and word. Amen.

My brothers and sisters, as we leave here today, let us take with us the determination to live as true disciples of Christ. May God’s grace accompany us and may we be instruments of His peace and love in the world. Remember, we are called to live the radical love of Christ – let us act with justice and mercy, bringing light and hope around us. Amen.