If we are to be able to love the God who we cannot see, we must practice by loving our neighbour.
Showing Our Love of God
This neighbour cannot be dismissed as an object or statistic; he or she is created by God in his own image and therefore is precious, just as we are. We show our love for God in the way we treat those who are his own. And it is the weakest and poorest who are closest to his heart.
Unity in Christ
Also, many neighbours are our brothers and sisters in faith, people who belong with us at the Table of the Lord. The harmony, peace and joy that is meant to be ours as fruits of living in the Spirit can be found only in a loving community, whether it is the family, parish or some other group. This love is not to be confused with sentimentality, but is marked by respect, integrity, care and commitment. This leads to unity at a deep level, a unity more important, more enduring than surface differences. And it is in this unity in Christ that our prayer becomes most powerful and we develop most completely as his disciples, becoming images of his compassionate and healing love.
We pray for those who are grieving after Wednesday’s shooting in downtown Ottawa, which has shaken us all. How does this happen? The modern world is one in which it is very easy for people to become lost. Some disappear into the nightmare of addiction. Others join a bizarre ‘religious’ cult or commune. Some connect with political extremists, from anti-government advocates through to white supremacists, their ethnic counterparts, or people seeking a type of simplistic ‘purity’. These ‘lost ones’ are not exclusive to any one cultural, religious or secular part of our society. There is no point in assigning blame for harm to any but those immediately responsible. And in the face of unreasoning hatred, it is even more important to respond in the strength of Christ’s love.
Indeed, may Christ lead us to know and share his love more and more powerfully each day.