By: Judith Terrameo OSF
An expert in the law tried to test Jesus by asking him what was the greatest commandment in the Law of Moses. Jesus summarized the entire law of God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt 22:37-40)
For Jesus, to love your neighbor as you love yourself was to practice justice towards all sisters and brothers. In this particular time, shouldn't this mandate be about our care and treatment of the immigrants in our midst. There has been a lot of negative news this year about immigrants. They are deemed dangerous outsiders who have no place in American society. Many Americans today want to keep them out, forgetting our shared heritage. We fear that where there is one immigrant, there are many more - "they are taking over; threatening our economy." We fear them as they bring ideologies and values with them that we don't appreciate, because we do not understand them. We fear these immigrants because we are alarmed by the fact that they appear to receive what is rightfully ours. Consequently, the practice of justice begotten by love is twisted into disordered prejudice against immigrants.
As Franciscans, following in the footprints of Francis and Clare, may we always desire to love our neighbor(s) as we love ourselves!