“Loving the Enemy, Turning the other Cheek”
1.Eighteen years ago, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the EDSA highway, infront of two military camps, to call for the end of the Marcos dictatorial regime. The images of that event is still very much fresh in our memory:
Sisters with their rosary facing the tanks. A young girl giving flowers to the soldiers. A lady giving food to the marines. A young man embracing a soldier.
Here were a people facing the might of the dictator. They were willing to give up their lives. But not to take the life of another. In the end, the soldiers did not follow the command of the dictator. They went over to the side of the people. And the Marcos dictatorial rule collapsed without blood being shed.
This was one of the rare moments that I felt proud to be a Filipino.
What made this possible?
2.When we hear Jesus saying that we should love our enemies and that we should turn the other cheek if somebody slaps up, we probably will find it difficult to follow his teaching.
How can we love those who oppress us? How can we love those who harm us? Our natural reaction is to retaliate. If somebody slaps us, then we either slap him back or sue him for physical injuries and moral damage.
Many would say that in real life, Jesus teaching of loving the enemy and turning the other cheek will only perpetuate evil in society. It will benefit the oppressor but not the oppressed.
3. Yet, what happened in EDSA is a proof that Jesus teaching of loving the enemy and turning the other cheek really works. When the soldiers faced a people who were willing to die but not kill, a people who treated them with kindness and compassion, people who were willing to turn the other cheek, they could no longer see them as the enemy that they could massacre.
This is the same weapon that Ghandi used as he led his people in their struggle against British rule. This was the same weapon that Martin Luther King Jr used in his campaing for the rights of the Blacks.
Following the teaching of Jesus does not mean that we allow evil to continue. It simply means that in our struggle against evil we follow the way of the cross, the way of love and compassion, of self-sacrifice.
When we face the enemy we reach out to the deepest part of his humanity and bring out the best, not the beast, in him.