Loving Like Christ in 2020
On the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which is World Youth Sunday, the readings couldn’t be more perfect. We see in the first reading from Exodus and the Gospel centering on…Love! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.
What does that mean in today’s world? 2020 has been a year where we have seen everything: riots, fires, floods, fights, a worldwide pandemic, and the list goes on. I think we have seen the worst and the best come out in people.
What does “love your neighbor as yourself” truly mean? Jesus died on the cross for ALL not just for some. We even see in Scripture when Jesus is on the cross, He says to one of the criminals next to him, “today, I will remember you in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Loving like God loves goes deeper than just being kind to people, and doing nice things for them like holding the door open for a stranger or paying for the person behind you in the coffee line.
Loving like Christ loves is loving the people and families who look differently than us. Loving like Christ is loving and treating people with dignity who live in another country that want to build a better life in America, helping them when they get here when all they have is the clothes on their backs. Loving thy neighbor isn’t holding them at the borders telling them “I’m sorry but you’re not welcome here.” God even promised to protect the Israelites, and in our first reading today God commands this message, “you shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourself in the land of Egypt.”
As the law and prophets depend on the two commandments from today’s Gospel to survive, so does the entire world. To love is to first love God, and love within, and in that deep love for Christ, we can spread forth unconditional love to the rest of the world, a world that so desperately needs it. As Christians, we have a duty to stand up for the voiceless and for those who are being persecuted. Remember, Jesus died for all and not just for some.
On this World Youth Sunday, I can’t help but think about the letter Pope Francis wrote to the youth, “We Need Saints.” We need people who are willing to have the hard conversations, people who are willing to stand up and fight for the voiceless, persecuted, and oppressed even if they are standing alone, and those who are willing to not live by the laws of the world, but by God’s laws. Only then will we be able to become Christ for the world and live out His greatest commandment, Love as I love you.