[COLUMN] On loving one’s neighbor

Elizabeth  Barrett Browning (1806-1861) wrote the iconic lines that begin with “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” These words resonate with many people, as love is the language of our souls and represents our deepest longing. We were created to love and be loved. According to a myth, when God formed us with body and soul, the first thing He did was kiss our souls. This kiss remains embedded in our being, fueling our perpetual yearning for love.

However, love is not without its challenges and sacrifices. It demands selflessness, forgiveness, patience, understanding, and empathy. True love goes beyond a mere sentiment; it is a conscious decision to embrace someone with all their flaws, persevering in that commitment regardless of the cost.

Jesus expanded the concept of love to encompass our neighbors, as He proclaimed in the Gospel: “What good is it to love only those who love you? Even sinners do that.” In light of this, God’s call to love extends far beyond our immediate family and close friends. He calls us to love our neighbors, embracing individuals of all creeds, tongues, and races.

Let us constantly remind ourselves of the greatest commandment found in this Sunday’s Gospel: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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