From a Creighton Student's Perspective
October 23, 2011
Junior, Chemistry Major
The first reading seems to be stating a version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would like done unto you.” If I were an alien, then I would certainly not like to be marginalized by natives of the country. This passage calls us to recognize the common ground we all share instead of our differences.
One of the greatest gifts I received last semester was the help of different people indigenous to the Dominican Republic. There were several times I was wandering around the city, more or less lost, and a few Dominicans stopped to help me find my way back to where I was staying. I was at their mercy, yet they chose not to abuse the situation and helped me. Upon returning to the United States, I had different attitudes on immigration and refugee services. Needless to say, this experience of vulnerability profoundly shaped my views.
Sometimes, as easy as it is to say, it is difficult to truly comprehend what it is like to live in someone else’s shoes, yet this is what this passage and the Gospel call us to do. The passage from Matthew 22 tells us the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord, your God,” absolutely and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” And, the incredible thing about love is that, in a sense, you cannot help it. There is a reason people use the phrase “fall in love”: with love, we have no control. While we do not have control over what we love, we can shield ourselves to its effects. My challenge for us today is to prevent those things that keep us from recognizing our love for others.
Too often, I am so consumed in the day-to-day grind that I forget to think about others. Too often, I find myself negatively judging others without sufficient cause to do so. Too often, I will see someone who is different from me and, whether directly or not, avoid them. These walls I throw up keep me focused on differences instead of similarities, on breaking apart instead of combining together. As such, I have trouble recognizing my love for others, even though it lies there under the surface. Seeing the common ground that we all stand upon helps me remember what we all share and see the beauty in what those “neighbors” in the Dominican Republic did for me.
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