Second Friday of Advent – Matthew 5:9, 38-42


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”


“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”



In our world, true peacemakers are hard to come by. The teachings of Jesus in today’s reading seem unrealistic. When we are wronged, we often feel that retaliation is the only way to achieve justice. The “eye for an eye” mentality comes to us naturally. The problem with this mentality, natural as it may be, is summed up in another saying, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” 


Turning the other cheek and going the extra mile have often been over-spiritualized and turned into platitudes (or worse: justifications to silently endure abuse!), but Jesus used these intentionally. 


Jesus was teaching in a context where shame was a guiding principle and the boot of oppression was hanging over his people. To turn the other cheek when you were slapped meant you were inviting your attacker to wind up and slap you again, this time with the back of their hand. To walk two miles instead of one while carrying your oppressor’s stuff was to go beyond what you were compelled to do, and to call out their dehumanizing actions in a way they couldn’t ignore. 


In short, these thoughtful responses exposed the power dynamics that caused the violence, and shed light on the darkness of the situation. 

The way of peace brings dark situations into the light. 


The true peacemaker takes a situation with hot tempers and elevated tension and flips it on its head. In Advent, we recognize that there is another way to peace: instead of retaliation, we are invited to the light of transformation. 


We receive peace as we wait for the light, and we also practice making peace in order to invite those around us – friends, family, and enemies – into that light. 


  • What does it mean to be a peacemaker?


  • Have you ever made peace by retaliating?  How did it work out?


  • What is one way you can practice making peace today?