Blog & Pastor Letters

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

10-25-2020Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

There is so much talk about love that it is easy to find tons of material on the subject. From movies to fiction novels, we discover the human ability to love and be loved. The beauty of human love is deeply appreciated when love is unconditional and from the heart.

Hatred often creeps into human life and things do not add up as expected. The world today needs love as we see pictures of violence and terrible inhuman acts perpetrated by human beings capable of loving and being loved. It is even more worrisome when religion is used as a cover wreaking havoc on the weak, the innocent and destroying the defenseless.

Unfortunately, the story is not always that way.

My position is that religion is supposed to make you a better person but then, when something is wrong with your practice do not blame the religion per se. The book of Exodus should be read with the background of suffering in Egypt of God’s chosen people. For over four hundred years, they labored as slaves under harsh conditions, until God saved them through Moses.

In today’s first reading, God is urging them to consider acts of kindness to aliens, widows, and orphans. “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.” God is encouraging the Israelites to be kind, considerate, and merciful to these categories of people and indeed to their neighbors who look different than them.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself Rev. Victor C. Yakubu, Parochial Administrator When we consider how the Jews have been treated inhumanly in history, we feel sympathetic toward their cause: to live in a land that is theirs and is at peace with their neighbors. A mixture of past and recent events indicate that they struggle against all odds to be recognized as people with rights and privileges just like any other in the world. We can make it easy by recognizing everybody as created in the image and The likeness of God.

At the time of Jesus, all Jews knew the Shema by heart. It was a memorized reminder of the love of God and love of neighbor as found in Deut. 6: 4-5: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You can love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” But the Pharisees wanted to test Jesus to know if he knew the Shema by heart. He not only memorized it but added; “The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The spirit of love supersedes any kind of feeling one can imagine under the earth. Jesus encourages us to love as he has loved us giving his all to make us free.

St. Paul became a missionary to the Thessalonians out of love for them. He says, “You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake.” The message for me today is to work for peace with my neighbor for his sake. As the Lord lives, I can become an ambassador of Christ by living the bible in my daily life. I can become the only bible that others read because I know the Lord. This week say it with the Psalmist, “I love you Lord my strength.” By loving your neighbor, you shall conquer all fears and be the light that shines in the darkness. Will you be that ambassador of love? Keep smiling!