It's Hard to be Charitable, Especially Behind the Wheel

When Jesus asks us to turn the other cheek and love our enemies, it makes me think he probably never spent any time driving a car on the roads these days.

I personally find it very hard to be charitable to the guy who is leaning on his horn and is so far up my back bumper that I can’t see his headlights in my rearview mirror.

It’s also hard to forgive the people who pass me on the right – on the shoulder of the highway -- or the guy who zoomed by one day with only one hand on the steering wheel and the other on his electric razor. He was shaving.

Such rudeness and self-centered behavior, such disregard for others, brings out the worst in me. I find myself wanting to lean on the horn, or worse.

So it’s definitely worth reflecting on the Gospel Reading from the Fifth Chapter of Matthew, heard at Mass this past week, and on Bishop Alfred Schlert’s reflection on that passage.

“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.”

“Is Jesus calling us to be weak?” Bishop Schlert asks in his weekly reflection. No.

“It’s quite the opposite,” the Bishop says, “for Christ isn’t calling us to be weak but to be strong, resolute. He is calling us to be like Him, He is calling us to spiritual perfection.”

Maybe it had something to do with the pandemic, or maybe it’s just the national mood, which seems to make some people think they can do whatever they please, no matter how it may affect others.

But it seems to me that there are plenty of opportunities – as we go through our daily lives – to take a deep breath and take Jesus’ advice to pray for those who persecute us.

The next time some bozo does something crazy on the road, I’m going to try to remember that.


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