Sunday, October 23, 2005

Love Thy Neighbor

Today's homily was over the greatest commandment from the Lord. "You shall love the lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This the greatest and the first commnandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Mt 22:37-39

Father Phan put it very pointedly saying that Love is the action of the virutre of charity. We receive charity from the Holy Spirit, but to put it in action it must come from our free will. We can choose to love God and our neighbor or not. And we must do both. Loving God alone is not enough if we do not love our neighbors. Keep in mind, it doesn't mean we have to necessarily like them. But it simply means that we desire good for the other person. We don't wish harm on them. Which is good because there's a few people I don't particularly like, but I've grown to the point where at least I don't wish them harm any more. You know the idea of a "woman scorned"... sometimes it's really hard to show compassion to some people. But I understand it more clearly now.

There is a teacher at the school I don't particularly care for. He was supposed to help me in several ways to get my computer set up and get things going for me at school, and he never lifted a finger to help me all year until recently. As much as I have not been fond of this person, I can still wish him well. For me, personally, when it comes to relationships, I had to come to terms with forgiveness of someone before I can really show that act of charity. When Richard and I broke up, I was very bitter, understandably, and for a long time I wanted him to feel remorse, realize the mistake he had made, and simply be absolutely miserable. No, I wasn't the most gracious about it. But after some time and as I started looking into church again and feeling God's presence in my life, I finally came to terms of forgiveness. And when I did, it was such an incredible relief. It doesn't matter any more how much he hurt me or what he did in our relationship. What matters is that I forgive him and I can now move on. We are still friends, and I appreciate him as a friend now.

These commandments are the most important criteria on how we're supposed to live our lives as as Christians and it is the standard by which we will be judged.
If a person wants to know how they have measured up, we just need to look at this commandment? Are we loving God and our neighbors completely? If not, we need to work on our compassion. If we choose not follow this commandment, we really cannot call ourselves Christians.

It amazes me that people who claim to be Christians sometimes act in a most un-Christianlike manner. People that divide themselves and take on a holier-than-thou attitude because of denominations, social status, or whatever reasons they can think of. When I was teaching junior high many years ago, I would see all these kids wearing the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets and claim to Christians because they went to the every Sunday and Wednesday. Yet in the classroom, they would be bad-mouthing others, be defiant with teachers and not having any consideration as to what Jesus would be doing. I guess perhaps it was just a fashion trend.

I know that I still have work to do on my part, and I've been guilty of not following this commandment. But I'm listening now. And I understand. I'm growing and I do love all my neighbors... even the ones I don't happen to like much.

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