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7th Sunday of the  Year A

7th Sunday of the  Year A

Matthew 5:43-48. 

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.” 
(Matthew 27:54) 

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. 

Rick Pilger

Father Pilger, I.C. was born in Canton, Illinois and was ordained at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, England in December 1978. He joined the Blessed Sacrament Parish in August 1995, coming here from Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton Florida. After 22 years as Parochial Vicar, he was appointed Pastor by Bishop Gregory Parkes in June 20, 2017.

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