A Sojourner’s Journey

From Father Zlock: One theme that Pope Francis has emphasized is the cooperation between the laity and clergy. Both are needed to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ.” Co-responsibility” is a word that is being used to describe this unique and valuable relationship.

In May, I presented a Vision for St. Monica for the rest of 2021. I encouraged parishioners to pull their gifts from under their bushel basket. Let their gifts and light shire for the benefit of others. One parishioner approached me about the article that I write in the Parish Bulletin. She asked whether laypeople could also write reflections as well. This would provide a perspective and “flavor” that would be different from that of a priest. I agreed. This week we introduce “From a St. Monica Sojourner.” Others who show a verifiable, writing charism are certainly welcome to do the same.

Exactly How Do I Love My Neighbor as Myself?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 2196, refers to Romans 13: 8-10: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Yet, doing no wrong to another is only part of my responsibility to others as a Christian. I revisited the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37. The story teaches several steps involved in better loving our neighbors. First, loving others as myself involves noticing them. The importance of seeing people is an integral part of several spiritual traditions - Ignatian, Salesian, certainly Franciscan. Second, when the Samaritan saw a man in need, he stopped. In today’s fast-paced society, we move so quickly all of the time. It’s easy to overlook the needs of others as we are racing through the day’s tasks. Third, the Samaritan showed compassion toward the injured man by responding to his needs. Finally, the Samaritan expressed his love to his neighbor by investing one of the most valuable resources he had – he invested his time.

What are some concrete ways we can love our neighbor?

Speaking kindly. Use words of encouragement to someone who is down. I can always find something good if I take the time to look for it.
Make allowances for the other person’s humanity. All of us have done dumb things, said dumb things. We’re a work in progress. No one knows everything or is always right. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Sharing in your neighbor’s joys and sorrows. Romans 12:15 tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” I should allow my neighbor to be who he is and support him.
Forgive. Jesus freely gives me forgiveness. I should pass it on.

“Don’t allow the words of Jesus to stay printed in your Bible. Give them wings, springing them into action.”
Karen Ehman from proverbs31.org.

Blessings and Peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ Through Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community.

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