Loving your neighbor

In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked by a disciple “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law”?:

Jesus said to him, 'You must 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 resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself.
On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too.'

And if there is any question to who is our neighbor, you only have to look to the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is not the people on your block or in your neighborhood, or religion, or gender, or race, or in any other group to which you might or might not belong. It is everyone: all of God’s children. Our faith has no tolerance for racism, intolerance, or discrimination in any way.

Pope Francis’ encyclical also addresses discrimination and injustice. Our Holy Father tells us that it is not right for the powerful to squander and profit from the natural resources that belong to all of us (and ultimately God):

This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus.

Caring for the environment is completely consistent with caring for our neighbors, all our neighbors:

Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. 

Working together, we can help take care of our common home, and each other.

Paul Litwin

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