Bread In The Wilderness
All Saints Catholic Church
Father Carl Diederichs

Our readings for Sunday October 26 are: Exodus 22: 20-26, I Thessalonians 1: 5c-10, and Matthew 22: 34-40. Love of God and neighbor are really one commandment. In fact, claiming love for God and dissing our neighbor, especially the poor and powerless neighbor, is an empty claim. If we won’t love the person we see, how are we to love the God we don’t see?

The power of the love we have for our neighbor will influence the way we honor all the other “commandments.” And because of our “love,” following the will of God will be an “opportunity” to lavish the love we have received on another. We love God through another.

We know that when we use the word “love” in the context of God and our neighbor, we are not talking about a romantic love or a love based on our emotions. The love of God that made us and keeps us in existence is a love that we share with others.

The love that we are talking about expresses itself in deeds and not words. Among the various groups of people that we are meant to include in our love are the folks who come to our shores in search of a better life, or just to save their lives. We know the debate going on in our country is not often based on love. Many of our citizens are angrily opposed to letting anyone into our country. Some were even upset that children were coming to us from Central or South America. Where was the love of God?

An undocumented immigrant could easily be in the same category as the “alien” mentioned in the Exodus reading. Our love for the weak and the powerless must include the immigrant. And can we even say that God is displeased when we do not include the immigrant as a person deserving our love and concern?

Even though our church has not always been a voice for the poor and powerless, our bishops have spoken quite clearly about the need for us to love and care for the immigrant in our midst. Our love must also include lobbying our elected officials to do the right thing. This is not easy in the present climate in Washington or in many states. But we keep on trying. One way to keep on trying is to vote for those who see immigration reform as an important part of their agenda.

And certainly we must acquaint ourselves with the issue and speak and write about it. Love without deeds is dead.

We hope and pray that all of God’s children are called to the Welcome Table that we have made ready for them in our country.