Lv 19:1-2, 17-18
1 Cor 3:16-23
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The Lord Jesus makes universal the commandment of love. The Father’s “sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust.” So Christians are not to draw false boundaries to their love. Christ, after all, now has full authority in heaven and on earth. He has embraced and redeemed the entire universe, and has given us a share in his dominion and in his power to love. “All these are yours, and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s,” Paul tells us in the Second Reading. So loving everybody comes with the territory.
One of the false distinctions, therefore, is between born and unborn. There can be no difference in our love. The size or age or level of dependency of a child cannot exempt us from loving and caring for the life of that child. Nor can it exempt us from recognizing the personhood of that child in the law. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This does not simply mean we love our neighbor in the way or to the extent that we love ourselves. It means we love our neighbor as a person like ourselves. We recognize that whatever differences there may be between ourselves and our neighbors, they still have the same human dignity that we share. We are to see through all the differences, recognize that common dignity, and love them as a person like ourselves.
Ultimately, this command of universal love is not simply an external command. It is not God saying, “Do this because I told you,” as if it were just an item on a list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, it is because we are called to be like God. “You must be perfected as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Perfected in love, in service, in selflessness. “Be holy, for I am holy,” the Lord declares to Moses and the Israelites. His command of love is followed by the declaration, “I am the Lord.” When we hold up the standard of love for born and unborn alike, we are not claiming to be better than anyone else. Rather, we are pointing to the one who made us all, and who wants us all to be just like him.