"Give to the one who asks of you,

and do not turn your back on one

who wants to borrow." Today Jesus

continues the powerful teaching of

his Sermon on the Mount. Typical of

this famous sermon, here He urges

us to see things in a new way,

specifically regarding situations

and people who bother us. First,

He tells us not to seek revenge.

Instead, we are to demonstrate

incredible generosity. Then, He

instructs us to "love your enemies

and pray for those wo persecute you."

These instructions don't come naturally

to most of us. We are much more inclined

to want to get even with those who cause

us to suffer, and to wish ill for those

who cause us to suffer, and to wish ill

for those who have hurt us. But Jesus

proposes another way.

In, truth, what good does it do to

seek revenge or foster hate? It only

continues the cycle of evil. Jesus

encourages behavior that will stop

the cycle short. He give us a model

that-although it may not change the

heart of our "enemies"--will none-

theless change OUR hearts for the

better. When pressed into service for

one mile, if we voluntarily go two,

then WE are the ones whose attitude

and experience is certain to change.

Instead of spending the length of that

one mile cursing and complaining, we

spend the length of two enjoying a

surprising kind of freedom: "I chose

to do this," instead of "I am being

forced to do this."

When we practice the generosity of

giving more than we are asked, and

the charity of praying for those

who persecute us, we will find

ourselves in a position to transcend

the trouble. It sets us free to not

to be mastered by the evil around us.

Thus, we are able to help end the cycle

of evil and begin a new cycle of love

and peace.