Love Thy Neighbor as Yourself
“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless.
There’s too much work to do!”
~ Dorothy Day
Jesus said: “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) This commandment has two-fold messages. One is that your neighbor is none other than yourself. Therefore, resist human temptation of “othering”, making the “other” less than us and therefore we can dehumanize them. The second message is that we need to reach out and help our neighbors in times of need.
I am inspired and heartened by the strong response of our community in coming to aid those who were adversely affected by recent unprecedented deluge from relentless atmospheric rivers that have swept through our area. What this reminds me is that people’s ethics are marinated in the Christian cultural milieu, even if they claim they are not Christians or religious.
One of my favorite teachings of Jesus from the gospel is this:
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40)
The 16th century Spanish St. Theresa of Avila (1515-1582) reiterated this message of Jesus in her prayer “Christ Hs No Body”.
Christ has no body now but yours
no hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world
Yours are the feet, with which he walks to do good
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes
You are his body
Christ has no body now on earth
May God keep us safe and bless everyone!