This is the lead banner, the battle cry, the centerpiece teaching of Christianity: Love your neighbor! In fact, none the less than the Lord Jesus Himself categorically and clearly said that the Ten Commandments themselves find their distillation into but two mandates: First, love of God that covers the first three Commandments. Second, love of neighbor that incorporates the last seven Commandments.
Question: What does love of neighbor really mean? It certainly means much more that simply giving alms to the needy, merely providing some medicines for the sick or doing charitable works now and then – and other periodic gestures of generosity like putting a coin in the can held by a beggar. Yes, these are some expressions of loving one’s neighbor, but they are far from enough and thus fall rather short of what the key Christian mandate really means and truly implies.
Furthermore, it is even offensive to the mandate of love of neighbor to engage in the following or similar supposedly charitable acts: Handing a peso or two to poor children to use them for any propaganda purpose - - which is in effect nothing else than exploiting the poor. Giving medicines to a needy community for self-praise intention – with proper picture taking for proper publication. Distributing this and that costly favor to these and those people here and there – using however public funds.
Considering that the divine injunction of loving one’s neighbor is the moral bundling or the composite of no less than the last seven Commandments relevant to man, its hard-hitting and serious-pounding meaning and intent are basically the following – expressed into the exact opposite of love. In other words, one does not in any way love but altogether hate his or her neighbor when: He or she disregards or even despises his or her parents. When he or she kills someone particularly so when this is still in the mother’s womb, or somebody who is innocent. When he or she engages in stealing, in dishonest deals or fraudulent transactions, or even but covets the assets already owned by others. When he or she engages in promiscuity, fornication or adultery, or even but carnally covets anyone not his or her spouse. When he or she indulges in telling lies, in engaging in duplicity, in living in hypocrisy, or engages in other dubious and odious transactional ventures – all of which are contrary to reality and truth.
Thus it is that the basic Christian mandate of loving one’s neighbor is better understood and appreciated – specially on the part of the following individuals: Thieves and cheats who frequent certain religious events, and thereafter already feel good and holy. Criminals and hoodlums who think everything is all right, after saying some prayers now and then. The crooked wealthy and powerful politicians who draw comfort and even feel proud for merely throwing some money to the poor, handling some food to the hungry, if not simply smiling and waiving his or her hands to the crowd. If these cases and instances mean loving one’s neighbor, then the Country would be over-flowing with sickening love!
GOOD FRIDAY 02 APRIL 2010