Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9;Romans 13:8-10;Matthew 18:15-20
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Romans 13:9)
Have you ever noticed how the commandments that we hear most often are the ones we have the hardest time fulfilling? Take today’s second reading as an example. We all have to deal with people who try our patience or rub us the wrong way. Then there’s the pull of the world, urging us toward a self-centered approach to life. And all the time, we hear in the back of our minds Jesus telling us to love one another, even to prefer one another to ourselves.
This is a demanding call, isn’t it? Like Jesus, we should seek to serve instead of being served (Matthew 20:28). He asks us to take the “lowest place” at the banquet (Luke 14:9). He even warns us that if we strive to be first, we will be last, but if we strive to be last, we will be first (Matthew 20:16).
In today’s readings, God is inviting us to do a little self-examination. How have you done lately in loving your neighbor as yourself? Think about hurtful things you may have said about another person. Think about ways you may have failed to defend a friend or judged someone unfairly. Or maybe you have neglected to help a friend who needed you because it was inconvenient.
These are uncomfortable questions to ask, to be sure. But God knows your heart. He knows how much you want to do good, even though you fail at times. He also knows that he has placed his Spirit in you to give you divine strength and to make changes that seem impossible. So don’t be afraid to open up to him and ask him to help you. Remember: God is love. And that love is generous and overflowing. Let him love you, and you’ll find yourself loving other people more and more.
“Heavenly Father, forgive me for putting myself first. By your Spirit, teach me how to love. Father, unite all your children as one!”~WAU