June 16, 2009

Anger-Revenge Virus

11th Week – Monday
Matthew 5: 38 – 42 “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other
one to him as well.”

We hurt people because someone had hurt us. Think about it. The reason why we tend to hurt other people is because somewhere in our past, we were victims of others’ uncharitable acts. Most of the time, we are not aware of our temptation to retaliate, unfortunately, because of our frustration to get even or return the hurt done to us, we ended up hurting other people or hurting ourselves. Sometimes, we are not aware that we are already infected with the “anger-revenge” virus. In fact, this is more dangerous than the H1N1 Virus that is floating around the globe. H1N1 is now curable with the discovery of an anti-virus. But this “anger-revenge” virus will always threat us.

In our gospel today, when Jesus said, “offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. Should anyone ask you to walk for one mile, go with him for two miles.” (Matthew 5: 39.41). Jesus is giving us an antidote or cure to this highly infectious and dangerous virus that lives in our hearts. The only way to kill this virus is to stop it from spreading. Nursing a hurt will lead us to anger. Anger will lead us to hatred and hatred will lead us to revenge. Then in it becomes a vicious cycle. Anger breads more anger. And when anger virus controls and poisons one’s heart, he loses his sensitivity, self-control, and hurt people in small or in big ways, knowingly and unknowingly. It will never end. Like any other virus, it is very infectious. Revenge breads revenge. Someone has to stop it. Someone has to bear the pain, bear the blow, to stop it. Someone has to forgive. When one forgives, the cycle or the infection stops. In forgiveness, the person who forgives benefits most.

Now we can easily understand the silence of Jesus during His crucifixion: “Have you now answer to give to these accusations against you? But Jesus kept quiet.” (Matthew 26:62-63). He said nothing against His enemies and even prayed for them, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”(Luke 23:34). Jesus knows that revenge is not the solution, “Put your sword back in its place. Don’t you know that I could call on my Father for help, and at once He would send me more than twelve armies of angels?” ( Matthew 26:50-54). To absorb the pain and to forgive are the only antidote to this very infectious “anger-revenge” virus. Someone has to stop it. Someone has to do the sacrifice. Christ did it for us. Can we do that also for others?

Today, we are being called to forgiveness. We are being asked to swallow our pride and reverse the customary way of re-acting to injustices, uncharitable acts, persecution and unkind words against us. We are called to do the impossible. We are called to magis (to give more): to love our enemies and share our very best with them, the peace and love we have received from God. In doing so, we can be called real children of God.

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

- Willy M. Samson,SJ
Ateneo de Zamboanga Chapel

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