7th Sunday of the Year A
Changing the word, “enemy” to “unlovable” might help us to come closer to what Jesus is teaching us about loving our enemies. “Love the unlovable and pray for those who are unlovable to us.
This passage on loving our enemies
and praying for those who persecute us
reminds me of the centurion standing guard
over Jesus during his crucifixion.
That soldier must have heard the prayer of Jesus,
hanging on the cross, suffering as he was,
and praying, “Father, forgive them,
for they do not know what they are doing.”
Something happened in the heart of the centurion.
He stated, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
He changed when Jesus prayed for his enemies.
Was it just the prayer that changed the centurion?
Yes, but there is more.
It was the way that Jesus looked at his enemies.
That word enemy can arouse
so many negative thoughts and memories in us,
not to mention our feelings.
It might be easier for us
to change the word “enemies” to “unlovable.”
Changing this might help us to come closer
to what Jesus is teaching us about loving our enemies.
“Love the unlovable
and pray for those who are unlovable to us.
Prayer will not only affect those who harm us,
but it will bring our hearts closer to the heart of Jesus.
The Lord can indeed help us do
what Jesus did on the cross,
to look past what others were doing to him.
We can pray first for ourselves
and ask the Lord to soften our hardened hearts
towards the unlovable.
We can ask him to fill us with compassion
for the unlovable that enables us to suffer with them
rather than because of them.
Seeing others suffer arouses compassion in us.
The greater another’s suffering –
the greater our commiseration.
We can let the Lord Jesus do in us
what he did for the centurion
and for all who crucified him.
We can choose to make his prayer our prayer,
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
And if we are too poor in spirit
to even want to forgive another,
know that the Lord Jesus loves us even more
because of our poverty.
His merciful love is like water
that runs to the lowest place.
He will pray that prayer in us himself to his Father
for all who are unlovable to us.
Jesus, I trust in you.