When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment.
And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In this scene, Jesus’ words are clear, love your neighbor as yourself. In this time of pandemic and social injustice Jesus’ example informs us. How did he love his neighbor? He reached out beyond his hometown to the sick, suffering and outcasts. When word spread that he was a healer and a prophet, thousands came to him. He welcomed them and spent time with them. He taught them and fed them. In his travels when he encountered a desperate soul, he stopped and listened to their struggles and responded to their expressed needs. Listening, feeding, teaching, healing, responding to those suffering, this is how he loved.
Jesus also highlights that loving your neighbor is like the commandment to love God. In caring for his beloved, you demonstrate your love for the Father. This is how we strive for heaven.
How can I reach out beyond my usual boundaries to my suffering neighbors?
—Erin Maiorca is the Executive Director at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL. Erin’s other vocations include wife to Tom and mother to two wonderful sons.
Good and gracious God, I praise you and desire to do your will. Help me to see as you do, the suffering hearts and needs of my brothers and sisters. Help me to listen, and to love you and your beloved. Amen.
—Erin MaiorcaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!