Love Thy Neighbor

The Gospel Today (August 19, 2016)
Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 22:34-40

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.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Lloyd Anthony G. Pagulayan)

Loving myself is hard enough. How much more to love my neighbour? More so, to endear an enemy. Yet, God’s commandment is crystal clear. We must and should love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

Our family is blessed to have our neighbours who are more like an extended family to us. Our gated compound has allowed us to bear witness to each other’s adversities and triumphs for almost half a century now. The matriarchs of their home and ours are both old widowers. Both of them are the binding links of the clans. They, too, celebrate their birthday one next to the other. This annual two-day affair is a manifestation of God’s love to both clans – from the good health of our Lolas to the successful delivery of the new-born babies in each family.

During the festive month of July, our compound turns into a sturdy citadel and jubilant hall of overflowing love and care which are extant in our neighbourhood. There are exciting exchanges of stories and sumptuous spread delights one another’s dining table.

But this ideal situation does not hold true at all times. More often than not, our neighbours whether in the community we belong to or at our workplace seem so hard to love. Either they resist our affection or we have resolved that they are far-worthy of our love. Amity appears next to impossibility.

This is God’s challenge to us. We need to demonstrate genuine care to the smallest of our brethren. In doing so, we are honouring God and loving Him in the person of our neighbour brothers. At first, it looks difficult. But see Christ them and miraculously, it would turn so easy of a task.

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