Being intentional in seeking a deepening relationship with the God revealed by Jesus is the goal of the Christian life. Realizing that God is the Source from whom all things have come, we begin to understand our connection with all others. Love and the desire to relate to all others in love become stronger than the fears and aversions that shape our attitudes and actions. We are not expected to have an emotional love for all our “neighbors”, but we should have a deep concern for their well-being, a desire that they be treated with justice and an abiding respect for them, human and non-human. This flows from a realization of our relationship in the One who holds us in union. We work for a transformed people on a transformed earth filled with the Presence of God.
Let us love one another as You have loved us.
How have I interpreted the teachings of Jesus?
Reflect on how the Christian life can transform us into more compassionate and just persons. What is this saying to us in this moment in history?
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
Through our love for our neighbor we can get to know God, who is love. Only through loving can we reach love.
He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
As for what concerns our relations with our fellow men, the anguish in our neighbor’s soul must break all precept. All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself, because God is love.
The only way we will love our neighbor as ourselves is by getting to know our neighbors, even in the midst of our differences.
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
When we accept the unconditional love and undeserved mercy that God offers us—knowing that we are not worthy of it—then we can allow God to love others through us in the same way.
We hermetically seal ourselves off from the undesired ‘other,’ the stranger, and in doing so, we seal ourselves off from God. By rejecting God in the neighbor, we reject the love that can heal us.
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
We are the earth, made of the same stuff; there is no other, no division between us and “lower” or “higher” forms of being.