Turning the other cheek
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed out differences between the Old Covenant and the New. Moses was a wise pastor for his time, bringing the Torah from Mount Sinai. Jesus is the new pastor, proclaiming a development of this spirituality from the Mount of the Beatitudes. Moses gave the Law of Talion, ‘a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye,’ to draw his people away from the excesses of the surrounding barbarians. Jesus gave the law of love of enemies, advancing beyond the Law of Talion.
Jesus spoke of turning the other cheek. The statement is much simplified so as to make an impact on his hearers and teach them to have a forgiving spirit. Clearly, there are times when true charity indicates that it would not be a good idea to turn the other cheek. How can we tell how to proceed in a particular instance? The question that we need to answer it this: What is most useful for the salvation of others and our own salvation?”
Give me prudence, Lord, to know when to turn the other cheek and when to assert the rights of justice. Protect me from a selfish falseness in my deciding what to do.