Among the saints who exemplified what it means to love our neighbour is Mother Teresa of Calcutta. After the death of Mother Teresa, many who recounted her good life shared how she was very open and free to the poor.
The easiest way that Mother Teresa penetrated every hardened heart is through her works of charity and sincere acts of love. She takes the law to love our neighbour as her first guiding principle.
Her life teaches us that when we sincerely love the other person, we do not only win their souls, we also conquer their hearts.
Today, no one would doubt that he loves God. Yet, there is hardly anyone who is not living in enmity and misunderstanding with another person. Therefore if we love God sincerely, we shall also love one another.
There are reasons why we must love our neighbour.
1.A Very Important Commandment.
A teacher of the law in order to put Jesus to the test, asks Him which law is the most important commandment?
Jesus replies 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 neighbour as yourself”.
Our interest today is in the second commandment: “love your neighbour”. We know that no one hates God. But many Christians today are living in hatred and enmity.
Jesus’ reply shows that after the command to love God with all our hearts, the next important commandment is to love our neighbour.
The Jews had more than six hundred commandments in the Jewish Law. Among these laws, Jesus’ reply shows that the Love of God and neighbour take the prime position.
Since it takes the first position, we have also to give it, its important place. Let us learn to reconcile with the other person before we say we love God.
2.If we like let us shout fire from heaven, if we do not love one another, we are wasting our time. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have no love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. Also, If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have no love, I gain nothing”.
Therefore, this is in reference to what Jesus says in John 13:35, that it is through loving one another that we can show that we are truly His disciple.
Therefore, every act of piety we try to exercise is good but we must love our neighbour first. It must take a place of prime importance.
It is A Sign that We love God.
The two greatest commandments are inseparable and connected. John says that whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen (1 John 4:20).
Today, our prayer houses and ministries are filled up to the brim but our households are in shambles. Many families today are in crisis and have long disputes.
In fact, most of our families today are in a total mess. Many of our families today are in constant fighting and enmity. Yet, we are always the first to shout down fire from heaven. The truth is that we can not love God and hate ourselves.
Today our country is populated with thousands of churches, healing centres and ministries but still characterised by incessant kidnapping, killing, bribery, corruption and atrocities.
If we truly love God and practice our faith the rate of crime will surely minimise, for these are what Christianity is preaching against.
If we truly practice our faith, we do not see the reason ten people will never live together in peace not to talk of two or three persons.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:23-24 “ If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
This tells how important this commandment is to God. Jesus makes it clear today that all our Christian practices are hinged on these commandments.
A Sign of Discipleship.
Truly we cannot live maiming ourselves and still claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who follows and obeys the master.
Therefore, we cannot disobey His commands and still claim to be His disciple. Jesus instructs that the only way to show we are His disciples is to love one another (John 13:35). This characteristic feature is what sets us apart from the world.
Hence, we choose to do otherwise. If we do not find any reason to love the person, let us try and do it because of who we are; children of God.
Definitely, if the tenets of Christianity are practised, there will be peace in the world and if there is peace, there must be development. But we have left the basis and jumped to the end of the line.
This is the reason our prayers seems not to cross the heavens. We cannot be praying that God bless us, yet we are instruments of the downfall of the other person.
We go in the presence of God but we fill our hearts with hatred and wickedness. Our different homes are busied with divisions and disunity. Where then will the blessing come.
Paul tells Timothy “I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. (1 Timothy 2:8). Let us live in love and unity. Jesus says in the gospel that on these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’
Let us live in love. The easiest way to break hardened hearts is to truly show love to them.
Who Is Our Neighbour?
Someone may ask who is my neighbour. It is exactly this question that leads to the parable of the good samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.
Our neighbour is not only the person living near you. He is not only the person you share some family bonds with. Our neighbour goes beyond this to mean every person you come in contact with.
Therefore your neighbour is also that person you have neglected all this while. He is also that person you are maiming and decimating his name.
Your neighbour is that person you see along the road every day begging but you pay blind eyes to him. Our neighbour is that person we are quarrelling with for many years now.
He is the person that we hated for no reason. The true law that guides every Christian is the law of love and not hatred.
Therefore, If every couple, every family, siblings, community, a leader can follow this law wholeheartedly, we shall experience heaven on earth. But we choose the negative and yet come back to blame God when crisis comes.
2.Our blessings may come from that little child we are maltreating. The ideas you need to succeed may come from that person you think is a failure. That person you are quarrelling with today, that family you are fighting, maybe the people, God puts in your path to help you.
Many of us who died today would not have died if we made peace with the other person. Many young couples would not have died if they loved their wives without putting eyes outside their matrimonial bed.
To love your neighbour may be underrated but can open a way, you never expected. Let us live in love and not in hatred. Let us encourage one another rather than living in envy. Behold how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). It is like heaven on earth.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to live in unity and love. May He never allow you to stumble Amen
Pray for me as I celebrate my priestly anniversary today.
Happy Anniversary to me and my Classmates….