Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, ”
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.
We are told by our Lord to “love thy neighbor”.
Not just to “love” our neighbor, but to “love your neighbor as yourself”.
I have to admit that I’ve always found that commandment to be a tall order, for how am I to “love” someone who has hurt or injured me, or whose political stance is drastically different from mine and which, I believe, has led to the ruination of the America I love?
My vexation is compounded by the fact that I have never heard a priest define who our “neigbor” is and what “loving” our neighbor actually means.
In Luke 10, Jesus used the parable of the good Samaritan to explain what He meant by “loving” one’s “neighbor”:
- The robbers in the parable — evil doers — are not our “neighbor”.
- Our “neighbor” is the man who fell victim to the robbers, that is, anyone we encounter in our lives, even strangers, who find themselves in foul circumstances through no fault of their own.
- Unlike the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan assisted the victim and, in so doing, demonstrated what “loving our neighbor” means — which is to treat those who are in need through no fault of their own “with mercy,” that is, with kindness and compassion, and to provide assistance.
See my post of July 14, 2019: “Sunday Devotional: What does loving our neighbor and our enemy mean?”
Now, in his letter to the Romans 13, St. Paul has provided us with further definition of what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself”:
- Not commit adultery against another.
- Not kill another.
- Not steal from another.
- Not “covet” (df: strongly desires) what another has.
- Not do evil to another.
That I can do!
How about you?
And always remember what precedes “love your neighbor as yourself” in the Greatest Commandment of all (Luke 10:27):
You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind.
May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Offered in humility and love,