27 ‘But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. 29 To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic.30 Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from someone who takes it.31 Treat others as you would like people to treat you.32 If you love those who love you, what credit can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them.
Loving your enemies might be the hardest thing any of us have to do. God to continually remind us throughout Scripture to love our neighbor as much as we do ourselves? I think we probably all know the answer to that. It doesn’t come naturally for us, and it’s hard! At times, it’s very, very hard! In fact, loving our neighbor as our self is so difficult at times, and beyond our own ability, that we cannot do it on our own.
This weekend I walked the halls of National Museum of African American History. I was both appalled and emboldened by all the things I saw. Surely, the pain and degradation I saw was not for nothing. I became painfully aware of all the things I had learned as a child. Yet, my Catholicism whispered in to my soul honor these memories with forgiveness.
How do we face forgiveness? Do we give love and forgiveness? When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we grow to recognize that everyone is part of His creation.”Love thy neighbor” is not as hard as it looks on the surface. It simply means respecting others and regarding their needs and desires as highly as we regard our own. Keeping this commandment, however, is likely to require the supernatural assistance only God, through Christ, can provide.
Perhaps the secret is to recognize that our neighbor, whether it’s the guy next door, the checker at the local grocery store, or the Sunday school teacher at church, is someone as worthy of God’s love as you or I.