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My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove you are sons of your heavenly Father
Matthew 5:38-48

Sermon Topic Enemies

Sermon Week Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 5:44-45


For many of us, the boundaries of our love are narrow and very exclusive. Perhaps we love the members of our family to some degree, and maybe a few other people. Perhaps we talk about loving the poor and the lonely and the disadvantaged, but not with a great deal of conviction. And probably we never talk about loving our enemies. For many of us, it is as though there is a huge paper clip around our life which prevents us from growing and expanding. Consequently, our life is closed to "outsiders," "foreigners," people who are "different." It is easier to categorize them than to love them. For some of us, the only area of growth in life is our "Enemies List."

But God, in His great Love, keeps on working on us. God wants to liberate us from this narrowness. God wants us to be free to live life in its fullness. And Jesus is telling us in today's Gospel Lesson that there can be no peace on earth and no peace in our hearts until those giant paper clips are removed.

The Old Testament story of Jonah is a classic case of a paper-clipped man. Jonah refused to obey the command to proclaim God's love and mercy to the people in the City of Nineveh. Why? Because they were on Israel's "Enemies List." They were "outsiders," "foreigners." Jonah's potential as a human being had been squeezed into a tightly drawn area. In the story, he represents a narrow and often vindictive nationalism. He represents a "chosen people" mentality which places limits on God's love and mercy.

The situation is the same in the New Testament. From the beginning, Jesus' disciples had this problem. When Jesus stopped to befriend the Samaritan woman, the disciples were outraged, and for two reasons. First of all, it was considered improper for a pious, male Jew to be seen talking with a strange woman. Secondly, she was not an Israelite. She was an outsider, a foreigner, one of the enemy.

"Why in the world is Jesus wasting His time with her? She is [...]

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