Today’s readings are all about commitments and responsibilities. In the first reading and the psalm, the people are told that if they follow God’s commandments, they will be blessed by God. But then in the Gospel reading, we get a new definition of what it means to follow God’s commandments.
It’s easy to love our friends and family. We naturally surround ourselves with people we like and whose company we enjoy. It’s easy to be nice to people who are nice to us. It just makes sense, and it’s human nature. But aren’t we all God’s children? We all share the planet. The sun shines and the rain falls on everyone: the ones we think are good and the ones we might think are bad. What makes someone good or bad? Aren’t we all made in God’s image? And if God loves everyone, and if we want to be more like God, we have to love everyone too.
It’s harder to love people who disagree with us. It’s not easy to be nice to people who are not nice to us. But there’s no reward for the status quo – being nice to people who we already like and who are already nice to us. If we get beyond our comfort zone and make friends with people we don’t think we’ll get along with, we make new friends. And if we make up with people we disagree with, we lose enemies. Those are immediate benefits. Plus, by loving our neighbors and reaching out to our enemies, we gain God’s blessings. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it has its benefits.
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