You shall love your neighbor as yourself. -Matthew 22:40
Love for God and Love for our neighbor are the two main themes for the readings today. They are also the foundation for building the Kingdom of God. In the Book of Exodus, we read about caring for those who are aliens, widows and orphans and when lending money to be fair and reasonable. It was so important to the Jewish people, that the poor were taken care of, that they had laws to guide them in this regard. They left some grain in the fields after the harvest so that the poor could glean the leftover grain to sustain them.
Today, we still have the poor and we give in different ways through donations to many organizations who assist those who are in need. In recent months we have had opportunities to help others due to natural disasters and war. Opportunities to give a voice to those with whom others have turned a deaf ear. Opportunities to assist those in our own communities, parishes or neighborhoods. A few years ago, I was able to witness someone take the opportunity to assist someone who could not afford their groceries. Not asking for anything in return, gave the person a hug and asked them to “pay it forward.” How many of these situations have we found ourselves in and turned away for one reason or another? Jesus message to love our neighbor is a message to heal others through acts of kindness. Healing is what our neighborhoods, parishes, communities, state and country need at this time. Imagine what the evening news would be like if kindness, mercy and compassion were the headlines.
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.