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Matthew 22:39. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I wish we could keep the two Great Commandments—to love God and our neighbor—at the forefront of our minds. Too often, I fear that we have equated loving our neighbor with being nice to those around us. Even a cursory glance at the gospels reminds us that it’s much harder than that, although the commandment is simplicity itself.
The massive wealth imbalance in the United States belies our adherence to this simple yet difficult commandment. If we really loved our neighbors, would we support a society in which a few people control so much wealth while millions go without enough food? Would we permit some of us to enjoy the best health care on the planet while millions more have no regular health care?
If I have read the gospels right, there is no way of saying their problems are not my problems. Rather, we are obligated to share of our abundance with those who have less. Jesus tells us to care for the last, the lost, and the least. Token gifts are a mockery of the Great Commandment. We are called to care for those around us with reckless abandon. Love is not sentimental here; it is hard work.