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“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:36-39)

Who Is My Neighbor?

Attacked by robbers, beaten, stripped of his clothes, and left for dead on the side of the road, the victim in The Parable of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 10:25-37) didn’t need his personal space. He needed to be physically lifted. He needed his wounds anointed and bandaged. 

 He needed love and mercy. 

Those in Need

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. (Matthew 25:35-36)

We all know someone who is hungry for the gift, comfort, and consolation of a personal call or visit.

 

I was thirsty and you gave me drink

Many are the parched souls thirsting for the refreshing, sweet nectar of a kind, genuine smile.

I was a stranger and you welcomed me…

Have you ever been a new parishioner?

I was naked and you clothed me…

Do you know someone who is shivering for lack of a warm embrace.

I was in prison and you came to me…

Humanity is suffering an epidemic of individualism and isolation. This distorted self-reliance and personal independence comes at the cost of a loss and deprivation of the gifts of Christian community such as the anointing of a heartfelt spoken word, the penetrating glance of kind, sympathetic eyes, and the healing power of the human embrace.

These uniquely human acts of love and kindness are imbued by God, our Creator, to lift up, heal, and liberate a weary soul beaten down by the ruler of this world ( John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) and imprisoned by the darkness of grief, depression, chronic loneliness, illness, estrangement, faithlessness, and hopelessness.

Merely texting a few words with an emoji or two and moving on in our busy day – honestly believing that we’ve done well to express support of our loved ones and friends by clicking the send button – is simply not enough.

The Gift of the Visitation

In those days Mary rose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. (Luke 1:39-40)

The fruit of the second joyful mystery of the Most Holy Rosary, the Visitation, is love of neighbor.

Mary lived in the village of Nazareth and Elizabeth lived in the village of Ein Karem. Mary, newly pregnant with the Son of God, went out of her way, a challenging and potentially dangerous distance of about 100 miles, to assist her aging cousin, pregnant with John the Baptist.

Consider the exchange of immeasurable blessing that occurs when, as a Christ-bearer, you go out of your way to visit and greet someone in need.

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. – Mother Teresa

Be Intentional

Saint Teresa of Calcutta © Sacred Art by Tianna Williams
Saint Teresa of Calcutta © Sacred Art by Tianna Williams

Consider the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta, a most exemplary model of Christ-like selflessness, charity, and mercy toward our neighbors:

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies...

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile…

 

 

Peace begins with a smile…

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing…

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in… 

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. – Mother Teresa

Be blessed and be a blessing.

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© 2024 Brian Kravec

Brian is a cradle Catholic, husband and father. He’s a writer, speaker, and the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Possibility Productions, a 501(c)(3) faith event evangelization apostolate in service of the Body of Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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