The law of love supersedes all other Commandments and Nigerians must show love to one another even amid insecurity, according to Rev Fr Joseph Ozoh Nwokeforo, the Parish Priest of the Jesus the Saviour Catholic Church Bucknor, Ejigbo Lagos.
In his sermon the priest said to gain eternal life is to ‘’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as yourself. This was the response Christ gave to the lawyer who sought to know what to do to gain eternal life.”t
The priest noted that love is a criterion to get eternal life as pointed out by Christ in the scriptures and that the law of love is written in the heart.
He added, “to answer the lawyer’s question of who his neighbour is, Christ gave the parable of the good Samaritan. In the parable, a man was attacked and left half dead by robbers on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. A priest and a Levite passed by; they were supposed to be exemplary in showing love. But they did not help the wounded Jew. These men were also Jews. Instead, a Samaritan who had no business with this Jew happened to be the one to render help to him.”
Who is your neighbour shouldn’t be the bone of contention. But who is neighbourly? The priest addressing the congregation said, ‘’can we go deeper a little bit; rather than look at who is my neighbour, let us rather reflect on who is neighbourly. This is because the term neighbour has not done some people a lot of good. Just like the term friend. Being neighbourly entails carrying out Christian acts to someone you are not connected to either by tribe, religion or denomination and you go out of your way to do something good. The term to describe you would be that you are friendly even when you are not friends.’’
‘’It is possible you have a person living in very close proximity to you and you even attend the same church with you but he or she will be the last person that will come to your aid when you are in danger. In such case you are neighbours but not neighbourly’’
The priest added that in the Bible, Samaritans and the Jews do not meet eyeball to eyeball. And so, the Godly or agape love goes beyond loving those who love you, can love you back or deserved to be loved by you. It also encompasses loving those who cannot love you in return. And before considering the religion, ethnicity, race and status of others before helping them, first see them as humans, created in the image and likeness of God.
The priest continued, “although it seems that the wounded Jew was ignored by the priests and the Levites due to a lack of sympathy on their part, it is also possible that they did it out of fear since the road from Jericho to Jerusalem was a dangerous one. This shouldn’t be justified since agape love is about sacrificing and seeking to help even when it seems uncomfortable. But mind you, the story is a parable, a fictional story. It did not happen in real life. Jesus only used it to make a point.’’
In reality, one is not expected to throw caution to the wind amid insecurity, fear and uncertainty when you want to go out of your way to help someone in need, but you are being beset by so many threats. In such a situation, you must be careful and apply wisdom.
In this present time, to give love sacrificially the way it is demanded by God in the scripture, the priest advised that you have to take proper measures and consider situations carefully before acting so you don’t become a victim in the end. “And when considering these situations, one of the things to consider is what will happen to the person in need if you do not help? And not what you stand to gain because agape love is about sacrificing and not selfish.” He concluded.