Love Your Brother



“Whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

Words from our First Reading today, the First Letter of John.

We are sensual beings.
We take in this world through seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling.

If we’re honest, sometimes it’s difficult to love a God who we haven’t experienced in any of these ways.

So God comes to us through our neighbors. Our brothers and sisters. And we’re commanded to love them as if they are Jesus himself – no questions asked.

We’ve all been hurt.
We’ve all been let down.
We’ve all been irritated.
We’ve all been slighted.
We’ve all been wronged.

That’s life. The question is then, what do we do with these experiences?

St. Thomas Aquinas said that to love is “to will the good of the other.”

Do we do that with everyone? Even our brothers and sisters who have hurt us?

Let’s face it. In our deepest selves there are times we take joy in something bad happening to someone we don’t like.

But that’s not love. And it’s breaking the greatest commandment.

Our call is to will the good of the person who we really don’t want to. It’s what he did on the cross, and what he challenges us to do likewise.

Easier said than done.

But loving the unloveable is the only way we can ever love God.


Photo: Pope John Paul II, visiting the man who attempted his assassination, Mehmet Ali Ağca. They had a private conversation, and emerged as friends. The pope stayed in touch with Ağca’s family during the latter’s incarceration, and in 2000 requested that he be pardoned.

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