• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Thursday, 16 February 2023 15:10

Going the extra mile

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:38-48)

Reflection - Going the extra mile

Vengeance, retaliation and violence seem part and parcel of the human experience. When we are hurt our first instinct is often to strike back, to take revenge on the one who hurt us - ‘pay back’, as we call it.

That’s how cycles of violence get started. These cycles can continue, between families for example, for generations, enduring long after the original incident has been forgotten.

In continuing his Sermon on the Mount in today’s Gospel, Jesus calls his disciples to a new way of handling violence and unjust treatment - not with revenge and retaliation, but with open-hearted generosity and forgiveness.

Jesus’ teaching must have sounded like the ravings of a mad man to his hearers. Even for us today that teaching can be ‘hard to swallow’. Is Jesus seriously asking us to offer the other cheek to the one who strikes us, to suffer double the injury? If someone wants our shirt, do we have to give them our coat as well? If someone forces us to go one mile, do we really have to go two miles with them? Love your enemies? Pray for those who persecute you? Seriously?

The challenge in Jesus’ words is for the disciples to always act in our dealings with one another as God would act. That is how we can break the cycles of violence which would otherwise entrap us.

Jesus calls his disciples to a more abundant righteousness even when they are unjustly treated. He takes traditional interpretations of the ancient biblical teachings and corrects and extends them in a more generous interpretation.

Virtue and righteousness are not about looking good on the outside, fulfilling the ‘letter of the Law’. They are about being good on the inside and acting for the good of others, allowing God’s heart to reign within our own. That’s what brings us into right relationship with God and neighbour.

True Christian virtue always goes beyond merely what is required. It is always willing to ‘go the extra mile’ in tolerance, love, forgiveness and mercy. It mirrors the excessive generosity of God.

The perfection of true holiness is found in acting towards others, including our enemies, as God acts towards us all.

You can download and print our prayers and readings for this Sunday:

default Celebrating At Home 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time [PDF] (6.03 MB)
default Celebrating At Home 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time [ePub] (7.56 MB)



Contact Us

Carmelite Provincial Centre
75 Wright Street,
Middle Park Victoria 3206 Australia.
+61 3 9699 1922

Carmelite Communications
Communications Director:
Fr David Hofman, O.Carm
+61 3 9699 2950

Carmelite Rule

A rule of life was given to the early Carmelites by St Albert Avogadro, Patriach of Jerusalem between the years 1206 - 1214. It was finally approved by Pope Innocent in 1247 and later underwent mitigations which were not in the original text.

The Carmelite Rule states that is basic for a Carmelite to "live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ - how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master" [no.2].


The Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste are committed to the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse and mistreatment.

NCSS Commitment Badge 250 ReverseWe are committed to safeguarding all people in our care, particularly children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Read more


acpa memberContact Us | Privacy Policy | Subscribe | Prayer | Titus Brandsma


Site designed, developed and hosted by Matthew Price: Transformation by Design