“To Love Others Means to Reach Out to the Underprivileged and Disenfranchised”

Hieromonk Augustine | 07 August 2016

And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people (Matthew 9:27-35).

In this morning’s holy Gospel from the Gospel of St. Matthew (9:27-35), we hear once again of the great love and concern that our Lord had for the sick and the handicapped. Jesus did not simply preach about the Law of the Old Testament like no one else before him. He knew that to love others means to reach out to the underprivileged and disenfranchised. He lived his own teaching of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If we believe that Jesus is the Lord, we are obliged by our faith in him to do something to let the world know that we are his followers, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “By your love for one another everyone will know that you are my disciples.” To only focus in on our relationship with God to the neglect of our relationship with others is to fulfill only part of the Commandments. We can be so absorbed in our personal relationship with the Most High that we sometimes forget that Christianity is a communal religion, that is, a religion which sees love of God and love of neighbour as complimentary parts of the same Law rather than as mutually exclusive. To have a relationship with Jesus means that we also have a relationship with all people whom we must treat with compassion as our Lord Himself did.

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