Christ didn’t say, “Love humanity as thyself,” but “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and do you know why? Because your neighbor, by definition, is the person nearby, the man sitting next to you on the underground who smells, perhaps; the man next to you in the queue who maybe tries to barge ahead of you; in short, your neighbor is the person who threatens your own liberty. – Luciano De Crescenzo
Loving humanity is easy. The more we narrow our focus, however, the more difficult it becomes.
De Crescenzo has captured the essence of why the words of Jesus are such a challenge to us. As a close friend of mine used to say, “I love humanity. It’s the damned people I cannot bear.”
And I have often said that it is far easier to feed a thousand hungry people than it is to feed just one. Even though it sounds counter-intuitive it’s true.
Feeding a thousand who are starving is about logistics. Feeding one person who is poor and hungry is about a relationship.
Christ calls us to love one another even as He loves us. He calls us to be neighbors to those in need. He calls us to build relationships.
In the end, that’s how we will eliminate the scourge of hunger; not by feeding thousands and millions in grand relief schemes, but by loving one another, even as we have been loved.