The middle school youth will understand what it means to love their neighbor, including their enemy.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church points out that Jesus said to his disciples: “Love one another even as I have loved you.”
The apostle St. Paul reminds us of this: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (2196)
Jesus makes love the new commandment. “By loving his own ‘to the end,’ he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive” (1823).
There are many people in our lives who are easy to love: family members and friends, even strangers who are in need. But there are others who are difficult to love: rivals, people who threaten us or the ones we love, enemies. Difficult as it may be, we are called to love these people too.
Christ dies out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself. (1825)