Love. According to the Bible–and the Beatles–it’s all you need. Love God, love others, love yourself. (And don’t forget to love your enemies.) “Do this,” Jesus says, “and you will live.”
Each of my kids suspects that their sibling was put on earth for the express purpose of aggravating them. Even as wise and mature adults, we may find it difficult to love some of the people in our lives. Jesus’ commandment can seem impossible. How do we love the bully or the betrayer?
Who is the neighbor we must love, and how do we love them? Jesus answers with the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story about an outsider who sees someone in distress and stops to help. Each time we say the Lord’s Prayer, and as we pray “give us . . . forgive us,” we pray together with people who have shown us kindness and cruelty. We pray that they, too, might be saved from times of trial, and that all of us might be delivered from evil.
As we pray in this way, we love our neighbor as ourselves, and we even love our enemy.
This message is an excerpt from “Faith reflections: The labor of love” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni in the February 2020 issue of Café. Today we remember Monica, mother of Augustine, who died in 387.