As a part of his sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches: “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Heavenly Father”. (See Matthew 5:43-48) This is indeed a Word of Truth and Wisdom for a world fractured with so much division. Loving one’s neighbor is essential to heal wounds and restore harmony in our society today.
The Church Fathers of the Second Vatican Council had a similar teaching we would do well to hear again:
This peace on earth cannot be obtained unless personal well-being is safeguarded and men freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their inner spirits and their talents. A firm determination to respect other men and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood are absolutely necessary for the establishment of peace. Hence peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide.
That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor symbolizes and results from the peace of Christ which radiates from God the Father. For by the cross the incarnate Son, the prince of peace reconciled all men with God. By thus restoring all men to the unity of one people and one body, He slew hatred in His own flesh; and, after being lifted on high by His resurrection, He poured forth the spirit of love into the hearts of men.
For this reason, all Christians are urgently summoned to do in love what the truth requires, and to join with all true peacemakers in pleading for peace and bringing it about. (Gaudium et Spes 78)
Lenten conversions asks us to renew not only our love of God, but our neighbor as well.