Going the Extra Mile

Gospel Message & Recording

In the Gospel Reading today Jesus teaches us that if someone hits us on the right side of the face we should offer the other side as well. And if someone asks you to run one mile (for whatever reason) you should run two miles. Here, a literal interpretation of this passage leaves us with a sense of “condoning injustice.” How else could we explain why Jesus would want a robber to rob us of our shoes and then before he runs away offer him our watch as an additional “robber’s bonus.” And by the way, why not offer him our car so he can get back home safely. The idea sounds absurd.

I know that there are benefits to learning the literal perspective of this passage but I want to point out the “bigger idea” that Jesus is attempting to convey. That is have we, as followers of Christ, gone or taken an “extra” step in our spiritual journey in helping others. In other words, we can look at how Jesus speaks about “running an extra mile” as doing more than what is required of us in regard to our faith, parish, family, and treatment of others (strangers). Furthermore, we often do what is comfortable. Meaning, whatever is the “bare minimum”—we’ll do that--but anything more is questionable.

I know for a fact that many of us are going above and beyond the “call of duty” in various aspects of life (e.g. family, children, parish activities and ministries, community work, etc); but what is one area of our lives that we feel that we are doing the “bare minimum,” and deep down inside we feel that we can do more?

Here are some examples:

  1. Our Actions: going the extra mile with kindness is not easy especially when we are living in an “on the go” society. Holding the door for others, helping someone carry something that is heavy, these are examples of actions that we can do that would make us go the “extra mile.” Sometimes it is in those hurried moments that we need to stop and help someone.  At that moment God calls on us to think more about someone else’s needs rather than ours. It’s a general rule of mine to always offer help, (if physically possible). There are situations, of course, that we can’t do that; but those situations are in the minority.

  2. Our Words: once again in this “fast-paced” society we don’t have time to talk to anyone. I have even noticed the “nice” words, or greetings, such as: hello, how are you, Good Morning, Good Evening, or even simply saying “hi” has decreased tremendously. Even when we see someone unhappy or looking unpleasant, do we take the time to ask him or her if they are ok? Or if they are feeling well? Seeing how someone is doing (by text, call or visit) are some ways that we can go the “extra mile.”

  3. Spiritual Life: are we going the “extra mile” in spiritual growth? Doing a little bite extra, that is, reading the Bible, setting up more time to pray, or fasting on a particular day, are ways that we can go the “extra mile” in our spiritual walk with Jesus Christ.

  4.  Physical Life: keeping our bodies healthy means eating right. (Now, I must be the first one to admit that I struggle in this area, even though I don’t look like I do.) Eating right is directly connected to our spiritual growth. God wants us to be spiritually and physically healthy. So, we have to figure out ways to reduce our weight (if we are over weight) and eat the right foods.