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Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

30 October 2021

Reflecting on Mark 12: 28b-34

The wonderful daily devotional Words of Grace offers a really great insight into loving our neighbor “as” ourselves. Cynthia Bourgeault writes in today’s entry that it’s not that we love others as much as we love ourselves, but that there is so much in the other person that IS ourselves, too. The “other” is really part of us too. We love our neighbor “as ourselves” because we are all connected, and making that connection is what makes being human so challenging, and so rich.

Think of your favorite books. What is it about them that touches you? We treasure our books, carrying them around with us from move to move, from childhood to the nursing home. I think it’s the friends we met there, both protagonists and antagonists, who strike a chord with our own, perhaps unconscious, connection with our deepest selves.

It gets complicated, of course, when the “neighbor” is someone abhorrent to us. How can we see any connection between ourselves and the mass murderer, the pedophile, the conniving co-worker, or even the porch pirate caught on our doorbell camera grabbing packages minutes after they arrive?

I don’t know. I’ve heard respected theologians teach that “there but for the grace of God” go any of us. Jesus, as always, understood it best when, from the cross, he asked his Father to forgive his murderers because they didn’t know what they were doing.

There have been countless times when others loved us, even when we didn’t know what we were doing. Remember them now. Pray for them now.  They loved us “as” themselves, as “part of” themselves. Oh, what a gift to be part of the human family.

Who am I presently working on loving “as myself”?

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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