Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That “us” versus “them” mentality creeps into our thinking. We see it often enough. How people interact with each other. The distinctions they make among themselves. How we often hear negative comments about people of different races, culture, gender, beliefs, social circumstances, and political views. We hear phrases like, “those people” and we know whatever will follow will likely not be charitable or Christ-like.
St. Paul has some very strong words about how the follower of Christ is to treat others in today’s reading. He says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.” St. Paul is not just encouraging us to follow Christ’s teaching about loving God and neighbor, he’s also warning that there are often negative consequences if we fail to do so. And this is coming from a man who literally wanted to stone and imprison those “neighbors” who disagreed with him.
Recall how before his conversion he supported the martyrdom of Stephen and asked to go to Damascus to find and arrest Christians. But he had a change of heart. He learned the hard way and is trying to give us the benefit of his experience. Hatred can devour people. It can lead to mutual ruin. Instead, a Eucharistic community loves one another; it shows others dignity, charity and respect.
That doesn’t mean we all have to be of the same mind about every issue, or that we can’t have differences over political or even religious matters. What it does mean is that there’s a Christian value that goes before all our other values.
So let us reflect on that deeper Christian value that informs how we interact and communicate with each other, even those with differing views than our own.
Let us Pray:
Merciful God, imbue us with your Eucharistic spirit that we may love our neighbor as you love us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)