In the most generous perspective, the desire for retaliation represents a longing for justice and equity. For example, “an eye for an eye.” Such justice is easily distorted into vengeance, hence the limiting of vengeance to precisely equal retaliation in the Old Testament. That tempering of vengeance does not really go far enough. The problem is responding in kind—the ultimate logic of which would be one person left with one eye!! Jesus goes to the heart of the matter: do not respond to violence with violence, do not engage at the level offered. Instead, turn the dynamic on its head: love your enemies and break the cycle of hatred and violence.
Help us, compassionate God, to take to heart the teaching of Jesus that love without limit may be our rule of life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Kieran J. O’Mahony OSA