With Advent a month away, I remember last year an “Advent of Kindness” calendar on social media. I thought it was a nice idea. Each day suggested an act of kindness to do for Advent: give someone a hug; buy a friend coffee; smile at a stranger; donate unwanted clothes to charity, and so on. There were more involved ideas, such as tape money to a vending machine or pay for a stranger’s coffee, but mostly the actions were relatively easy. Too easy. Shouldn’t these be normal things Christians already do? Aren’t we already called to give from our need and not our surplus so others can live? Isn’t being Christian more than just being kind?Following the greatest commandment will demand more from us than easy acts. It will require our entire selves offered to God for the sake of those we might find hard to love. Click To Tweet
If we’re not careful, we might hear today’s Gospel in the same feel-good, comfortable way. Love God and your neighbor. Sounds easy. But the first reading tells us who our neighbors are: the immigrant, refugee, and stranger; the widow and orphan discarded to physical and existential peripheries; those who have nothing but the clothes on their back—people most of us would never engage with in our comfortable routines.
Following the greatest commandment will demand more from us than easy acts. It will require our entire selves offered to God for the sake of those we might find hard to love.