You shall love your neighbor as yourself. -Mark 12:31
We are at the end of the third week of Lent and the challenges keep coming. I like the Lenten season. It reminds me of how much I still need to work on in my relationships with God and others. I always tell my students, “The hardest thing you will ever be is a Christian.” Lent is when this is most clear. Lent challenges us to spend 40 days fasting, praying and giving alms.
The Gospel for today challenges us to focus our efforts on loving God with all that we have and all that we are and included in that is love for our neighbor. For Christ, the love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable. We cannot love God alone and ignore our neighbor. In the world we live in today, this is a challenging message. We receive messages from society that tell us that if someone is not like us then we should not accept them. There are messages out there too that say all are accepted. It has become something like a yelling match. Who can yell the loudest or have the most messages. For myself, I have gone back to the old saying, actions speak louder than words. That just might be the message from today’s Gospel.
If we love someone we show them kindness, generosity and compassion. If we love God and take time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving then these graces may come a bit easier. If we are open to experiences, and the graces that come through those experiences, then that can bring us closer to loving God through our neighbor.
May this Lent be filled with many graces in loving your neighbor. Random acts of kindness are always a good place to begin.
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.