Reflecting on Mathew 22: 34-40
The challenge today to love our neighbor as ourselves is, as one clever writer put it, “like sand in your swimsuit”. You can squirm and wiggle and try to re-position yourself, but that sand isn’t letting go until you deal with it.
Do we have enough resources between us all to let others matter to us as much as they matter to themselves? I think so. Let me tell you about the members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, who’ve heard and seen it all and still dig deep within themselves to listen carefully and lovingly to those most in need of mercy.
Let me tell you about Portland researcher Dr. Brian Drucker. Way back when he was in medical school he looked at chronic myelogenous leukemia and said, “I’m going to cure that”. For twenty years he worked almost obsessively, even enduring the ridicule of his peers at a conference where he presented his approach to a cure. But he let his patients matter to him as much as they mattered to themselves. And in 2001 Dr. Brian Drucker brought the chemotherapy drug Gleevec to market, the only true cancer breakthrough in our lifetimes.
Let me tell you about the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, a group of twenty-somethings who give a year of service to children, teenagers and adults in Denver—precious human beings who long to matter to someone as much (or more, sometimes) as they matter to themselves.
Can you remember the times when you received that kind of love? When someone really listened to your story and cared? Really noticed your pain and helped take it away? That’s what the laws of Moses, which Jesus is quoting in today’s Gospel, are demanding.
Or as Rabbi Hillel famously said, “The whole Torah can be taught while standing on one leg: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.”
In what ways have you mattered to someone as much as you matter to yourself?
In memory of Patty and Len Langenderfer. Vincentian to the core, they simply noticed the needs of people whom they knew God had placed in their paths. And nothing has been the same since.
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).