Love God, Love your neighbor…easy, right?

Today’s Gospel reading:

GospelMt 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 
He said to him,
“You shall 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 is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Heard it a million times.  Rolls off my tongue often, reminding my children that they ARE each other’s neighbors and to be kind and loving, for crying out loud!!!  Our pastor’s homily truly resounded with the Gospel in which he asked us how many times we truly LOVE our neighbor and some really, REALLY good reasons why NOT to love our neighbor.
Loving your neighbor might put you in a tricky position of “how much does one give to help out?”  And I thank God for the neighbor who employed my husband for two months of solid work right out of prison.  No judgement.  No pity.   A hand up.
Loving your neighbor might put you in a tricky position of getting sucked into someone else’s drama.  And I think of all my patients who come in and just need a friendly ear for a few minutes, as their days consist of being homebound, at the mercy of others, with families who might be too far away to help, (geographically or emotionally), and they just need someone to care and listen…even if it’s just a few minutes.
Loving your neighbor might put you in a tricky position of giving away some of your time, talent or treasures.  And I thank God for all the generosity of friends bestowed up us while hubby was “away” at Christmas and throughout the year, material possessions, housing during our visitation trips, babysitting during our visitation trips, prayer requests and prayerful guidance and mentoring during difficult times.
Loving your neighbor might put you in a tricky position of sharing your house for an extended period of time.  And I thank God for parents who put us up in their home for 5 years while the kids were small until I was able to do it myself.
Loving your neighbor might put you in the tricky position of opening up to new friends and putting your heart and humility on the line until you see if that friendship blossoms.  And so we did:
We had two sets of our neighbors over for dinner yesterday evening.  It was nice.  A lovely fall temperature, windows open, kids playing, enjoying the back porch and some white chicken chili, pumpkin muffins, jalapeno cornbread, hamburgers and veggies and dip, followed by ghosts in the graveyard desert.  Yum.  But it was also a time to catch up on each other’s lives and scratch a bit below the surface niceties.  Trading parenting and homework-helping tips.  Chasing toddlers, watching a baby nod off in papa’s arms, letting teens and tweens socialize through grunts and no agenda for any of us.  And it was nice.  To break bread.  To get to know our neighbors better. And to be loved.  Knowing that these people are living out God’s commandments as they “go against the grain” of society in be-friending a felon and his family.  As we went to bed last night, hubby said it was nice to have such a “normal” evening.  And it WAS nice.  And I thank God for beautiful moments like this.

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