Contributors Learning to love like him

Christ is commanding us. Are we listening?

Joshua Ruoff is the lead consultant for the archdiocesan special-needs ministry. He can be reached by email at:

by Joshua Ruoff

When we listen to the Gospel, we must remember in that moment God is speaking directly to us, commanding us how to live.

In last weekend’s Gospel, Jesus told us to love our enemies. When you listened to this word, did you listen as a follower of Christ who is being commanded by Jesus, or did you just listen to a story that was being read?

As a person with a disability, I sometimes feel like the world is against me. I am in the middle of becoming a new home owner. Finding a house that is accessible, where I can successfully be independent, has been so challenging.

I oftentimes just felt like giving up and being angry that the rest of the world didn’t take into consideration my needs for accessibility.

This same frustration is almost a daily occurrence for me whenever I am in public and someone who is not visibly handicapped takes a parking spot or if there is a building that I cannot easily get into.

Who am I to judge, though? Maybe the person who took the handicap parking spot can’t walk long distances because of a heart problem.

Since hearing that Gospel reading, I am challenging myself to take God’s commandment personally and follow it in my everyday life by being less quick to judge and condemn and be more loving toward those that I may find challenging to love.

I challenge you to join me in taking the word of God as a personal commandment and invitation.

Let us challenge ourselves to love our enemies.  As with every responsibility of being a follower of Christ, this is not going to be an easy task.

God doesn’t promise us easy, he promises to always be with us.

Many of you are likely familiar with this famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

If we want to eliminate hate and darkness in our world, we must learn to love our enemies. Thank God we don’t have to do this alone. Let us draw close to Jesus when it is difficult to love our enemies. Let us ask the one who forgave his persecutors to give us the strength to forgive those who trespass against us.

Again, in the words of Dr. King, “Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems . . . let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.”

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Joshua Ruoff

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