Do we love our neighbor even when they don’t live next door?

Simply stewardship
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

The brilliant G.K. Chesterton said, “We make our friends, we make our enemies, but God makes our next-door neighbor.”

His quote reminded me of our neighbors who keep an eye on us out in the country. Hot, cold, rainy or snowy, no matter when things go wrong, they are there to help.

Whether plowing our big garden in the spring or sharing their own overabundance of vegetables at harvest, they are generous with their time, talent and farm equipment. They take care of our dog on late nights and weekends when we can’t get home in time to let her out.

One of our neighbors is a former Army Green Beret and Vietnam prisoner of war. At 80 years old, he is patriotic and indefatigable. He drives a school bus for our local school district and cares deeply about the welfare of each of his young passengers.

Another neighbor is a widow with four children. She waves hello as she hustles her brood out the door and on to their many activities. On weekends, often right before dark, she mows her acres with the speed of a race car driver.

The Lord said this is the greatest commandment: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mk 12: 30-31).

No other commandment is greater.

Like most of you, my husband and I are blessed with kindhearted and selfless neighbors. It is easy to love these good people. The bigger question, however, is: “Who is my neighbor?”

G.K. Chesterton was right. God gives us our neighbors. All of them. The people we encounter in line at the grocery store, our fellow commuters on busy highways, the helpers on the other end of the phone who communicate as best they can in English, their second language. These nameless people are also our neighbors.

On Sunday, the archdiocesan stewardship and development office will host the 18th annual Crosier Society Mass and brunch for the Archbishop’s Call to Share 2016.

Nearly 2,000 households have qualified for membership this year through their generous and sacrificial giving. They are our good neighbors who through their gifts help to support 43 vital ministries of our local Catholic Church.

I am grateful for the hard-working friendly and helpful people who live next door, for all the generous Catholic Call to Share donors in our archdiocese and for all the neighbors whose lives are touched by these funded ministries.

During this season of Thanksgiving, and always, it’s good to be reminded to love our neighbors as ourselves.

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