Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 12:5-16ab; Luke 14:15-24)
Linus, the character of the Peanuts cartoon series, is fond of saying: “I love mankind; it's people I can’t stand.” He is wise for recognizing a very common frailty. Most people consider themselves as tolerant and respectful of others. But in individual cases they often show themselves to be less understanding than they think. In today’s first reading St. Paul exhorts the community at Rome to live up to their expectations.
After laying out his theology, Paul has begun his moral exhortation in this twelfth chapter of the Letter to the Romans. He wants the community to avoid competitiveness and disdain. They are to recognize one another’s gifts, to be sincere in their displays of affection, and to be compassionate to those who are suffering.
We must see individuals as our opportunities to practice charity. By charity we do not mean contributions to organizations. Rather, it is the virtue by which we love God and neighbor. It is not easy as other people differ from us, sometimes so much that what they do does not make sense. Yet they are – to one extent or another – children of God and, therefore, worthy of our care.