31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deut 6: 2-6, Heb. 7:23 – 28, Mark 12: 28b-24
Love of God and Love of Neighbor
In this day and age, it might be beneficial to think about our history of neighbors. It may be the case that a neighborhood with people we know is not part of our common past.
The experience of living for ten years as an adult on a no outlet street, and relating to most of the people, formed positive relationships. A retired man could fix anything, women would share great leftovers, and while working on the lawn there were pleasantries exchanged by those next door or passersby. Ours was such a trusting relationship that the people across the street had the key to our house in case one of us found ourselves home without our key. We treasure the memories of those wonderful people.
The command to love God and neighbor may be difficult for those who cherish coming home and closing the door to the outside world. Yet living in an environment of sharing joys and sorrows with people within sight of where you peer from a window, can lead us to believe why God desires us to love our neighbor. May it be the classroom, playground, campus, workplace, or even prison, the quality of life is measured by how we get along with each other. How we tolerate the other’s annoying foibles and noises, how we take criticism and offer praise, is testament to loving our neighbor.
If our lifetime is bereft of being a neighbor, then our love of God lacks a dimension of what this twofold directive was meant to be. Our month started with the reading from Genesis that reminds us of the incompleteness of God, thus the creation of woman, and ever before us is the concept of the Trinity, and Jesus choosing close followers.
As the liturgical year comes to a close, it may bring comfort and joy to remember our former neighbors and pledge to reach out to those living in proximity, either in the same building or close by who would appreciate caring attention. The history of the human race reveals many shortcomings in loving God and neighbor, but our need is to focus on how the other may be the neighbor God is placing before us today. Jesus’ unity with the Father and Spirit is to be mirrored in our union with those we meet on our path to eternal salvation.
With Robert Frost in mind, may we create roads well-traveled to visit our neighbor.
Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, OP