"But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person, who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you…
Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful. "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven… (Lk 6:27-38)
The kingdom that Jesus preached and lived was all about an absurd generosity. This meant doing the best of things to the worst of people. It would also imply doing the things to the others what you want them to do to you. Jesus also gave a list of practical things that one could do in his life to practice this generosity.
But are they possible? What Jesus wanted from his followers was to inculcate in them an attitude of heart that was different from the rest. It was an attitude of generosity which did not count the rewards. This was an attitude that made them become like God. His followers were to be like how God would be to the people. God was generous to all people even the wrong-doers and he was merciful even to the faulty.
This not only presents the attitude one should possess as a follower of Jesus but also one’s view of God or the God in whom one believed. The image of God which Jesus presents in this passage or the God whom he believed in is different from the image of God presented by many in the world or many religions. The God of Jesus is different. And in this God there is no violence, no revenge, no division etc.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham… Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah. Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly…
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." (Mt 1:1-16.18-23)
Today’s reading, from gospel of Matthew, presents Jesus in the wider context of Israel (Abraham and David and so on) and in the closer context of Joseph and Mary. Author is trying to present Jesus in a historical context. Birth of Jesus is a historical event. It is also a temporal event. It happens in time and space. It is a historical event.
Jesus was an Israelite and he was from Abraham and David. These are the two pillars of the nation. One was the father (physical/family) of the Israelites and the other is the first head of the nation. So, Jesus has a national role to play and also role of the father of the family.
This historical, social, national and a family event takes place with the assistance of God. God enters into the scene through the person of Joseph. The whole event is going to have a religious slant. Jesus who will be born of Mary is going to be ‘Emmanuel’ – God with us. Yes, a historical, social event becomes a divine event. God is God of history and God in the society (nation).