Love your neighbor as yourself.” We often believe that this was an original idea of Jesus and the new command of compassion. But listen to the First Reading this weekend: God says, “”You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.” In other words, remember where you came from and treat your neighbor as you want to be treated.
These are compelling words in our own day and age. Where are we from? We could have grown up in the United Sates but my grandparents came from the Czech Republic and from Germany fleeing persecution, and looking for a better life for themselves and their children. Now that we are settled and comfortable how do we treat the neighbors around us? People often see the Old Testament as a book of fire and brimstone but God proclaims Himself as the God of compassion. Jesus knew the Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Scriptures and quotes, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” as the Second of the Greatest commandments. What a challenge He presents to us.