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Thursday 23rd Week of the Year

Today’s Mass Readings

Thursday 23rd Week of the Year

Matthew 5:38-48.

There are some who want to make themselves
enemy to me, but I have no enemies
.”

“Oh, how blessed are the pure of heart,”
Jesus promised, “for they will see God.”

Bishop Don Samuel Ruiz was bishop
of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas
in southern México during turbulent years.

He was known and loved
for his empowering of the indigenous people
in his diocese.

But in the 1990s,
he was not so much loved for acting as a mediator
between the Mexican government and the Zapatista rebels.

In fact, during those violent times,
the bishop received many death threats.

In 2011, soon after his death, a Dominican sister and New Testament scholar, Barbara Reid, remembered him and wrote in America Magazine, “Some years ago I had the opportunity to meet him.

In the course of our interview, I asked him how he had come to live so completely the command to love one’s enemies when he had so many. He gave me a puzzled look and responded: ‘I have no enemies.’”

Sister Barbara continues, “Now it was my turn to be puzzled, as he had arrived for the interview in a bulletproof van, accompanied by three large, armed bodyguards supplied by the Mexican government, at their insistence.

He explained further, ‘There are some who want to make themselves enemy to me, but I have no enemies.’”

Father Larry Janowski O.F.M.

 

How much we need this grace in our streets and country.

Jesus addresses all of the violence in today’s Gospel.

When we hear the term “An eye for an eye,”
we often think of the word retaliation.

 

 

Somebody did something to me
so I’m going to do the same to them.

The purpose of this ancient command,
found in Leviticus 24:20,
was a way to keep violence in check
so it would not escalate into something worse.

Many cultures and peoples around the world
still live by this law.

Jesus knew so well that this law
changes no one’s heart.

Enemies remained enemies.

His teaching to “Offer no resistance to evil,”
is an invitation to live his mercy and peace.

It might seem weak but the crucifixion
was the strength of love and mercy at its best.

Love those who persecute you,
do good to those who hate you.

How many times someone meditating on the crucifix
has changed their heart?

“Father forgive them,
for they do not know what they are doing.”

To “Offer no resistance to evil,”
keeps evil out of our hearts.

We don’t just sit back and take someone’s abuse.

We allow that strength in Jesus’ heart
going to the cross
to absorb in his sacred wounds
the pain we experience.

 

This step is impossible to take
without the grace of the Lord moving in our hearts.

But once we trust him and take that step,
we no longer see our pain
but the pain in our enemy’s heart
as did Bishop Ruiz.

There are some who want to make themselves
enemy to me, but I have no enemies
.”

They are no longer our enemies
because they become real people to us
who need so much the merciful love of the Lord.

“Offer no resistance” helps us keep our dignity
in the eyes of Jesus
and helps us, so we do not lose the dignity
of those who abuse us.

“Blessed are the pure heart,
for they will see God” transforming our hearts
into his Sacred Heart.

His Heart will never fail us.

When will the violence end?

The violence will end
when we choose mercy over revenge.

Give mercy a chance. Give peace a chance.

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

During a quiet offertory, let us ask for the grace
to give mercy a chance with someone we know.

 

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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